Buitelandse vlagvertoonbesoeke aan Suid-Afrikaanse hawens (3): Die eerste dekade van die nuwe RSA, 1994-2004
In this, the third of three articles that deals with flag-showing visits by overseas warships ("grey diplomats") to the Republic of South Africa (RSA), a review is given of all such visits that took place from 27 April 1994 to 27 April 2004; i.e. the first ten years of fully-fledged democracy in the country. In the months that followed on the April 1994 elections, a large number of foreign warships, as well as naval support ships, visited South African harbours, an indication that the RSA had indeed been welcomed back by the international community. In 1996 there was even more naval contact, and 1997 – when the South African Navy celebrated its 75th birthday - was the busiest naval year in the history of South Africa since 1972. In 1998-9 there was a fall in the number of "grey diplomats" that visited the RSA, but 2000 was another boom year. Since then, every year has brought a relatively large number of foreign warships to the RSA. Since 1994, the RSA is an important role-player in the international arena, especially with regard to African affairs, and the large number of overseas flag-showing visits to South African ports is a clear indication of the country"s importance.