Apr 11, 2012
SA Navy budget set to rise as piracy threat to SADC growsBack
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Answering a question from Engineering News Online at a press conference at the 2012 Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) in Cape Town on Wednesday, Sisulu stated that the amount would be announced in her department’s budget.
“When we adopted the [Southern African Development Community (SADC)] Maritime Security Strategy, we committed ourselves to giving more money to the navy. This is a top priority for us.”
SADC heads of State adopted the SADC Maritime Security Strategy in Angola on August 9, 2011.
In her keynote address opening the conference, Sisulu pointed out that African countries were "particularly reliant on the sea and thereby vulnerable".
She highlighted that, in 2006, the global total of people taken hostage at sea was 186, but that in 2010 the figure for the Indian Ocean alone was 1 016.
During the 12 months from March 2011 to the end of February 2012, there were 57 pirate attacks in Tanzanian territorial waters, reported Sisulu, citing her Tanzanian counterpart. This was "an unprecedented number, but one that is indicative of the relocation of piracy to the SADC ocean".
Sisulu appealed to the IONS delegates, who come from 86 countries (both Indian Ocean rim States and observer nations) to advise the South African government on the issue.
"Currently, in the Mozambique Channel, the SAS Drakensberg is taking over from the SAS Isandlwana," he revealed.
"The navy is tasked to patrol the northern Mozambique Channel ....[but] we can go all the way to Tanzania."
"The Drakensberg has been the workhorse of the navy," he highlighted. "Drakensberg will give us equal [anti-piracy] capability as the frigates."
* Keith Campbell is attending IONS 2012 as a guest of the SAN.
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