Naval officers bid farewell to outgoing Captain Kgotlaetsile Joseph Ikaneng and welcome his successor, Captain Khulile Gerald Mahlombe, during a change of command parade at the SA Naval College in Gordon’s Bay. Picture: HENK KRUGER/African News Agency (ANA)
The hardest part of relinquishing command of the South African Naval College was saying goodbye to the people you were responsible for, said outgoing Captain Kgotlaetsile Joseph Ikaneng.

He was speaking during the change of command parade at the SA Naval College in Gordon’s Bay yesterday .

The parade represents a formal transfer of authority and responsibility for a unit from one commanding officer to another.

“Today is a sad day for me. I will miss being in command of a unit and will begin my role as director fleet logistics almost immediately,” he said.

He said most of his peers considered him naive to take on the responsibility, that he would lose out but his times spent at the college had been a honour and a privilege.

“Another aspect I will miss is seeing the young cadets fresh off the streets transform into able and ready Navy officers at graduation,” said Ikaneng.

He said his advice to his successor, Captain Khulile Gerald Mahlombe, was to take it slowly and that he would be able to depend on the support of the SA Naval College staff.

Ikaneng completed his Military Training for Officers Part 1 (MTO1) at the SA Naval College in 2000 before embarking on an illustrious naval career and will continue in his new role at Fleet Command at Simon’s Town.

He was presented with a plaque by his former second in command, executive officer commander Sebake Nokwane, that represented the key skills demanded of a seaman.

Nokwane said it had been a privilege to work with Ikaneng despite the short period and it had meant much for his own development.

Mahlombe’s career has spanned over two decades, after being integrated into the SA National Defence Force in 1994 from Umkhonto we Sizwe.

Mahlombe obtained medals throughout his career, including Unitas medal, good service medals gold, silver and bronze.

Excited, he began his tenure yesterday and thanked his predecessor for leaving such an impeccable legacy.

“My goal now is to continue on the good work of Captain Ikaneng and not only sustain it but to build upon it.

“I see my role as not just to instil leadership and management skills within our recruits, but also bring more social awareness and allow them to go into our local communities,” said Mahlombe.