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Walvis Bay Military Area
Walvis Bay Military Area emblem
Walvis Bay Military Area emblem
Disbanded early 1994
Country Flag of South Africa (1928–1994).svg South Africa
Allegiance Flag of South Africa (1928–1994).svg South Africa
Branch Flag of South Africa.svg South Africa Army
Type Militarised Area
Part of Chief of the Army
Garrison/HQ Walvis Bay, Cape Province Enclave
Engagements South African Border War

The Walvis Bay Military Area was a specific militarised zone bordering South West Africa during the South African Border War. Military equipment was freighted through the harbour to support operations throughout South West Africa.

HistoryEdit

Walvis Bay was managed as a South African enclave for eighty-four years. The Walvis Bay Military Area, with ten other regional Commands of South Africa, made up the Territorial Force of the South African Defence Force. Based in Walvis Bay, it was responsible for the security of the enclave, forming the primary level of command for military operations. This Command also provided logistic, administrative and service support to units and formations operating in its area of responsibility. 2 South African Infantry Battalion Group was based here and was often used in operations.

SADF Walvis Bay Military Area map

SADF Walvis Bay Military Area map

SADF Walvis Bay Command Structure

SADF Walvis Bay Command Structure

The military areas main base, Rooikop was situated further inland due to problems with corrosion on equipment closer to the shore. The military area also housed a large airfield called Air Force Base Rooikop. Both the harbor and the airfield were used in large scale equipment and personnel movement. During its history, other major units such as 4 South African Infantry Battalion Group and 61 Mech Battle Group was also billeted here.

SADF 2 SAI exercise on Dune 7

SADF 2 SAI exercise on Dune 7

The local populace of Walvis Bay was also militarised through a South African Citizen Force commando unit, known as the Walvis Bay Commando.

SADF Walvis Bay Commando

SADF Walvis Bay Commando

AFB Rooikop badge

AFB Rooikop

Handover to NamibiaEdit

By 1990, South West Africa gained independence as Namibia, but Walvis Bay remained under South African sovereignty, with South Africa increasing its number of troops, mainly due to units returning from Namibia. By 1992, however the two countries agreed to establish a transitional Joint Administrative Authority for Walvis Bay and the Offshore Islands.

In August 1993, South Africa passed a resolution calling for "the incorporation-reintegration of Walvis Bay and the Off-Shore Islands into Namibia." The Transfer of Walvis Bay to Namibia Act was passed by the South African government that year. Following the signing of a treaty between the two countries, South Africa formally transferred sovereignty of Walvis Bay to Namibia on 1 March 1994. The process of removing South African military assets from Walvis Bay was completed by then.

ReferencesEdit

  • Walvis Bay, History of Walvis bay, from Walvis bay, [online] Available at www.walvisbaycc.org.na [Accessed: 03 March 2014]
  • African Executive, History of Walvis Bay, from African Executive, [online] Available at www.africanexecutive.com [Accessed: 03 March 2014]

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