Cape Times

SA Navy equips recruits with basic life skills

- Sandiso Phaliso

MORE than 100 SA Navy members graduated after undergoing six months of military training at the SAS Saldanha, the largest training unit.

At the graduation parade yesterday, the 111 young sailors showcased the skills they learnt, including a choir performanc­e, mast and gun run displays, precision squad drill to the beat of a drum and a retreat ceremony.

According to the navy, the aim was not only to provide the youth with military skills, but to teach them basic life skills that are required in a work environmen­t, the military environmen­t and work ethic.

Skills provided to the recruits range from seamanship, environmen­tal awareness, musketry, computer skills, basic financial management, hygiene to discipline.

After their period of service, some will be recruited into regular service.

SAS Saldanha has recently undergone an extensive upgrade, receiving modern accommodat­ion, mess and classroom facilities.

Its core business is to conduct basic, intermedia­te and senior military courses for non-commission­ed officers.

Addressing the gathering, chief of staff of the SA Navy Vice-Admiral Mosiwa Hlongwane said the learners were “a testament that to the remarkable tenacity and resilience of our youth, who are the lifeblood of our young democracy”.

He said the learners had a one in nearly 15 000 chance of being selected in the programmes.

“These members have had to face the enormous physical and mental challenge of the gruelling sixmonth programme. But after the proverbial blood, sweat and tears, coupled to run unparallel­ed tenancy, your sons and daughters surprise even themselves.” One of the learner’s, Seaman Moses, who also received a certificat­e of excellency, said the road to the graduation was tough, but educationa­l.

“We knew it was not going to be easy. We encouraged each other and look where we are today. This is the beginning of the beginning.”

Learners had a one in nearly 15 000 chance of being selected

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