Ysterplaat bags top prize

Commanding Officer of Air Force Base Ysterplaat Colonel Carl Moatshe (left), accepted the Prestige Award for the best air force base in the country. South African Air Force Chief, Lieutenant General Fabian Msimang handed over the award.

Air Force Base Ysterplaat won the top prize as the best base in the country, for the second year running.

Out of the ten big bases in South Africa, the top three represented the Western Cape – namely Langebaanweg, Overberg and Ysterplaat – at an awards ceremony held in Pretoria late last month.

For the second year in a row, Air Force Base Ysterplaat took home the Prestige Award.

The Langebaan base serves as a pilot training facility and the Overberg one is a testing and development centre.

Ysterplaat is an operational base and is the only base that also operates as a maritime base.

According to the commanding officer of Air Force Base Ysterplaat, Colonel Carl Moatshe, the base assists with operations like the abalone poaching, which is common in the area. They also assist as far as Mozambique.

Air Force Base Ysterplaat was opened in 1941 and, according to Colonel Moatshe, it’s the busiest air force base in the country.

“The base has undergone many changes throughout the years. There were phases where it went by different names like Air Station Ysterplaat before getting the name it’s called today,” he said.

The Prestige Award goes to the best performing base in the country, a title judged on various criteria including everything from the functioning of its various units to its living quarters and finances.

Many of Ysterplaat’s units were in the top-three. Colonel Moatshe said the award belong to everyone who worked at the base.

“It just so happens that I am the one who collects the award at the end of it all but this accolade belongs to the people here. I’m excited for the people of the base because it’s their hard work,” he said.

Ysterplaat is working with the Rotary Club on possibly opening an aviation high school where graduates will be able to get their private pilots licences. The base also houses a South African Air Force museum.