Committee Chairperson Dikeledi Magadzi said the Committee was excited about the work of the NSRI.
“Sea rescue activities speak to what government wants to achieve through Operation Phakisa and the risks associated. The Committee is excited and will support any calls aimed at resourcing the NSRI as an entity,” Magadzi said.
The Committee received a briefing from NSRI and it was revealed that the institute conducts 70 sea evacuations annually but it was facing challenges pertaining to lack of financial resources, helicopters and technical skills.
Dr Cleeve Robertson from NSRI said the effective way of dealing with sea rescue operations was best with helicopters, and that the NSRI lacked technical skills to run operations.
“The operations become even risky for the volunteers we use. Mass casualty evacuations are a kind of an operation that is suited to the Air Force and Defence Force,” Dr Robertson said.
He pleaded with the members to engage with the Portfolio Committee on Defence so that sea rescue volunteers are trained for technical skills required in the field, and that more helicopters are availed for this purpose.
Magadzi said an interaction with the Committee on Defence would happen in the future and that the Committee will see how it takes this important task forward.