It looks like we were wrong to punt the SA Navy as being a suitable alternative to the commercial outsourcing of the management and maintenance of our vessels.
The 2012 Defence Review draft report, which was handed to Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Lindiwe Sisulu, in Pretoria yesterday states that the South African defence force is not capable of fulfilling its role in terms of its current capabilities.
It must therefore follow that if the Navy cannot even carry out its limited present role, how will it be able to also manage and maintain our state of the art fishery patrol and research vessels and patrol our vast sea space?
And in a related matter, Sue Middleton, the Acting DDG of the Fisheries Branch stated in Port Elizabeth on 11 April that she believed that while the Navy could enhance the management of the patrol vessels, it was less clear as to whether the Navy could play a meaningful in running the research vessels.
So who is going to maintain and operate our research vessels? We are told that the Navy was doing this from 1 April! But it is clear that they actually don't have a clue.