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n Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe - Die Suid-Afrikaanse Vloot se sogenaamde omstrede nuwe fregatte : hulle eerste dekade van diens, 2004-2014 : navorsings- en oorsigartikel - : navorsings- en oorsigartikel

Volume 55, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0041-4751
USD

 

Abstract

Nie baie Suid-Afrikaners waardeer die feit dat Suid-Afrika 'n seemoondheid is nie. Gevolglik is vlootgeskiedenis 'n verwaarloosde onderwerp. Toe die Suid-Afrikaanse regering in 1998 aangekondig het dat - as deel van 'n omvattende wapenpakket - onder meer vier nuwe fregatte vir die Suid-Afrikaanse (SA) Vloot aangekoop gaan word, was daar diegene wat die sinvolheid daarvan bevraagteken het. In hierdie artikel word die rol wat die vier Valour-klas-fregatte in die eerste dekade van hul bestaansgeskiedenis (2004-2014) gespeel het, onder die loep geneem en ontleed. Vrae wat aan die orde gestel word, sluit in: Was die besluit om Duitse Meko A-200-fregatte aan te koop geregverdig en die regte keuse? Was die aankoop van die fregatte dus werklik 'n omstrede besluit? Watter funksies het die skepe die afgelope tien jaar in diens van die SA Vloot vervul?


Die rol wat die vier Valour-klas-fregatte tydens vlootoefeninge in Suid-Afrikaanse waters met skepe van ander lande gespeel het, word bespreek, soos ook die besoeke van die SA Vlootfregatte aan Suid-Afrikaanse hawens (as deel van die Vloot se plaaslike openbare skakel- en uitreikaksies). Heelwat aandag word aan die fregatte se rol as grys diplomate gewy; met ander woorde, wanneer hulle op buitelandse vlagvertoonvaarte die land oorsee verteenwoordig ten einde bestaande diplomatieke betrekkinge uit te bou of nuwe bande te help smee - en tegelyk ook aan skeepsmaneuvers oorsee deel te neem. Hulle rol tydens teen-seerowerpatrollies in die Mosambiekkanaal en in soek-en-reddingsaksies word ook belig. Die artikel dui ten slotte aan dat, alles in ag genome, die SA Vloot se nuwe fregatte (en dus ook hul bemannings) hulle in die jare 2004-2014 besonder goed van hul taak gekwyt het en dat die Vloot dit nie kan bekostig om nie oor fregatte te beskik nie.


Not many South Africans appreciate the fact that South Africa is a maritime country. Consequently, it is no surprise that naval history, including the history of the South African (SA) Navy, is a neglected topic, especially in academic circles. And when, in 1998, the South African government decided to approve an arms package (arms deal) for the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) - which included the acquisition of three submarines and four frigates for the SA Navy - many people questioned the need for new weaponry. The allegations of irregularities and corruption with regard to the arms deal, have added fuel to the fire, and the official enquiry continues to this day (2015).
This article focuses on the history of the four "Valour" class frigates that were acquired by the SA Navy as part of the arms deal. Proceeding from the assumption that a littoral country, such as South Africa, with a coastline of some 2 800 km, and with the strategic Cape sea-route on its doorstep, should at least have four frigates in its navy, the purpose of this article is to provide a review and an analysis of the first ten years of service (i.e. from 2004 to 2014) of the "Valour" class frigates in the SA Navy. The acquisition of these four frigates is placed in historical perspective by briefly looking at the history of South Africa's naval forces and the role frigates have played in its past, followed by a discussion of the rationale behind the decision to order four German-designed Meko A-200 frigates. Some of the questions that are posed (and discussed), include the following: To what extent have the "Valour" class frigates enabled the SA Navy to take its diplomatic role to another level of excellence? What other functions have these frigates fulfilled in the first decade of their existence? How successful have the ships been in the SA Navy service? Was the acquisition of the frigates really as controversial as some commentators would have it?

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/content/akgees/55/2/EJC172360
2015-06-01
2019-08-19

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