Claims that a navy ship fired its cannon into a Simon’s Town mountain, narrowly missing houses, during a training exercise are “unsubstantiated and baseless”, says the SANDF.
According to a report in the Weekend Argus, a South African Navy corvette, at the navy dockyard, fired into the mountainside instead of the sea on Friday January 28.
The report alleges that the navy is trying to cover up a training exercise that went wrong.
An SANDF spokesman, Brigadier General Andries Mokoena Mahapa, said the SANDF had noted the article with concern and it should be dismissed with the “contempt it deserves“.
“The SANDF wishes to assure the citizens of the country especially those in Simon’s Town that they are and remain safe,” he said.
However, several residents living on the mountainside confirmed that something definitely hit the mountain on Friday.
A Simon’s Kloof resident, who asked to remain anonymous, said she had heard the sound of impact and had initially thought it was a rockfall. However, when the first noise was followed by two more she thought it must be something else.
“At the time, I didn’t know what it was, but it was loud. The navy said it was a hoax, but it is definitely not. I think they did fire the cannon into the mountain, and it is very concerning,” she said.
A picture from a Facebook group, circles the point of impact which is captioned, “Naval cannon gun fired into Simon’s Town mountain by mistake.”
Another mountainside resident, who also asked to stay anonymous, said the picture looked like the mountainside above Victory Road in Simon’s Kloof.
Simon’s Town Community Police Forum chairwoman Eileen Heywood said there had been a lot of talk about the incident on the social-media groups, but there was no confirmation that it had actually happened.
A tweet by @Paratus2014 asked if anyone had more information about the incident. @MikeChong0999 responded saying, “Apparently fake news, according to someone in the Simon’s Town navy.”
And @deanwingrim wrote: “If you receive a story about a SA Navy vessel at naval base in Simon’s Town firing a round into the mountain, it is fake news.”
@CliffSmith3 said: “I live nearby, would have definitely heard a naval cannon firing. Nothing.”