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SA military falls short in detecting maritime encroachment

Defence Minister Thandi Modise has conceded that the SANDF is lacking in capacity and military intelligence to detect and prevent the exploitation of the country’s maritime zones by multinational companies that fish illegally. Picture: AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills

Defence Minister Thandi Modise has conceded that the SANDF is lacking in capacity and military intelligence to detect and prevent the exploitation of the country’s maritime zones by multinational companies that fish illegally. Picture: AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills

Published May 24, 2022

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JOHANNESBURG – Defence Minister Thandi Modise has conceded that the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) is lacking in capacity and military intelligence to detect and prevent the exploitation of the country’s maritime zones by multinational companies that fish illegally.

“The SANDF has restricted capacity to detect (and) prevent the exploitation of South Africa’s waters from illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing activities, especially within waters surrounding the Prince Edward Island Group,” Modise has said.

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She replied to written parliamentary questions by the EFF’s Tseko Mafanya. He asked Modise about this specific capacity.

Modise indicated that the SANDF currently used naval vessels that can only help to a limited extent to gather intelligence against encroaching multinational fishing groups.

“The naval vessels currently employed in securing South Africa’s maritime zones and gathering intelligence comprises vessels procured under the Strategic Defence Procurement package (the R30 billion arms deal of 1999), being four Valour class frigates and three Heroin-class submarines,” she said.

“These vessels’ primary role is military in nature and not constabulary in nature.

“The SANDF also employs numerous older vessels such as SAS DRAKENSBERG, SAS PROTEA and two River-class mine counter-measure vessels.

“The SANDF currently has no Maritime Patrol Aircraft capability.”

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Modise added that the military was due to have technology centres that will enable it to counter encroachment into the country’s waters.

“The SANDF is in the process of developing a modern Maritime Domain Awareness capability, with two Maritime Domain Centres situated at Silvermine (Cape Town) and in Durban,” she said

“These Maritime Domain Centres comprise the necessary technology and information sharing systems to monitor its maritime domain.”

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The Star

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