Durban - Durban is once again a strategic naval base. This was made official by Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula at a sod turning ceremony in Durban on Tuesday.

The upgrade comes after the port city was downgraded to a station almost a decade ago.

Nqakula said the move would bolster military operations along the East coast of the continent and also contribute significantly to the ocean economy of the country.

“This move will further enhance the growth of our maritime industry as an integral part of the defence industry through support and maintenance of Navy vessels based here and offshore patrol vessels,” said Nqakula.

The minister added that the decision to upgrade the Durban station was made after the ministry assessed the international, regional and domestic security situation.

”We have come to the conclusion that resuscitating and even upscaling the South African Navy presence in these shores is the right decision,” she said.

The move has also gone down well with senior Navy personnel.

Rear Admiral Sagaren Pillay welcomed the the station changing back to a base.

“Durban has gone through a number of transformational processes, as an individual I moved on. I mean the navy is not only based in Durban, we have Navy headquarters in Pretoria and Simon’s Town.

So this move is pleasing,” said Pillay.

IOL Mojo