President Cyril Ramaphosa says he has been saddened by the death of three members of the South African Navy in Cape Town.
He said members of the navy are facing risks at sea, given the nature of their work.
However, in spite of these dangers, they perform their duties with diligence.
Ramaphosa was joined by Parliament’s defence committee chairperson Cyril Xaba, who said the death of the crew members was a loss to the SA Navy.
Xaba said they also commend the rescue operations undertaken by various units for being able to get the other members to hospital.
Ramaphosa said on Thursday the death of the three divers was tragic for both the navy and the South African National Defence Force at large.
“The SAS Manthatisi was en route to Cape Town while conducting a vertical transfer (VERTREP) by means of a SA Air Force Maritime Lynx helicopter, when high waves swept seven crew members out to sea.
“Rough seas affected the rescue and recovery operation in which the National Sea Rescue Institute assisted.
“While all crew members were recovered, three fatalities were recorded. Other crew members, including a senior officer in a critical condition, are being treated in hospital,” said Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Vincent Magwenya.
Ramaphosa said members of the navy perform a key role in the country to keep South Africans safe and this tragedy robbed the nation of these members.
“This is a sad loss for our nation and for our brave armed forces in particular who routinely face danger in order so that all of us can be safe and secure,” said Ramaphosa.
Xaba said they have been saddened by the events in Cape Town and hoped that those who are in hospital will make a speedy recovery.
He said the navy plays a critical role in the affairs of the protection of the State and the loss of three divers was a loss to the SANDF.