Refiloe Johannes Mudimu

Vice Admiral Refiloe Mudimu CLS, DMG, SM, MMS, MMM, MMB, SAN (Rtd) is a former South African military commander, who served as the Chief of the Navy before his retirement in 2014.

Refiloe Johannes Mudimu

Born (1954-03-06) 6 March 1954
Sophiatown, Johannesburg, South Africa
Allegiance South Africa
Service/branch South African Navy
Years of service1998  2014
RankVice Admiral
Commands held
  • Chief of the South African Navy
  • Chief of Naval Staff
  • Chief Director Maritime Support
  • Chief of Fleet Staff
  • IG SA Navy

Early life

Johannes Mudimu was born on 6 March 1954,[6] in Sophiatown. He became a member of the African National Congress and Umkhonto We Sizwe (MK) in 1975.

Early career

Mudimu received his military training in Angola, East Germany and the then USSR. He successfully completed the commander’s course in 1977.[7] He then served as an instructor in MK camps until 1979 when he was deployed as Chief of Logistics in Luanda, Angola.[8]

Mudimu later served in ANC Headquarters in Lusaka, Zambia as the co-ordinator of the ANC Youth Radio Programs as well as a member of the Editorial Board of the Youth Publications. Early in 1985, he was deployed in Harare, Zimbabwe as the ordnance operative.[8]

Later, Mudimu was deployed as a commander of the underground units in the Transvaal and Northern Transvaal Provinces. He returned to South Africa in 1991 after the unbanning of the ANC.[9] In 1992, he was appointed Deputy Chief of Personnel and Training and served in the MK High Command until the integration of the forces to form the South African National Defence Force in 1994.[8]

After the integration of the forces, he was appointed to General Siphiwe Nyanda’s office as MK Chief of Staff Personnel and Training. Later he was appointed Director, Integration of the Non Statutory Forces (NSF’s).

Mudimu was transferred from MK to the South African Navy in 1998 as a Rear Admiral (Junior Grade).[10] Later, he was appointed as the Inspector General (Navy). That same year, he successfully completed the Navy Senior Command and Staff Course as well as the Senior Management Programme at the University of Stellenbosch.[8]

On 1 April 1999, Mudimu was transferred to Simon’s Town where he was appointed Chief of Fleet Staff until 30 September 2000. On 1 October 2000, he was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral and appointed as Chief Director Maritime Support,[11] a post later changed to Chief of Naval Staff. He has completed all military courses prescribed for senior officers including the Joint Staff Course 41/99.

In 2005, Mudimu was appointed Chief of the South African Navy and promoted to Vice Admiral.[8][12]

Vice Admiral Mudimu retired on 31 March 2014.[13]


On 20 March 2014 it was announced that Vice Admiral Mudimu was due to become the next Chairman of Armscor.[14] He resigned from Armscor in 2018 due to ill health.[15]

Awards and Decorations

On 19 April 2012, Johannes Mudimu received an Honorary Doctorate from Durban University of Technology.[16]

His list of Military awards includes:[1][2]

Military offices
Preceded by
Johan Retief
Chief of the South African Navy
2005  2014
Succeeded by
Samuel Hlongwane
Preceded by
Position renamed
Chief of Naval Staff
2000  2005
Succeeded by
Mosoeu Magalefa
Preceded by
Martyn Trainor
Chief Director Maritime Support
2000  2000
Succeeded by
Position renamed
Post re-established IG South African Navy
1998  1999
Succeeded by
John Barker
Business positions
Preceded by
Mojo Motau
Chairman of ARMSCOR
2014  present
Succeeded by

See also


  1. "CV of the Chief of the Navy". SA Navy.
  2. "C Navy awarded US Legion of Merit Medal". Navy News. XVII (4): 8. 2008.
  3. Hendricks, Lisa (September 2007). "Brazil honours SANDF members for meritorious service" (PDF). SA Soldier: 23.
  4. "Tamandaré Medal of Merit" (PDF). SA Soldier. 12 (3): 16. March 2005.
  5. Janse van Rensburg, AB Phillip (2008). "More Honours for Chief of the Navy". Navy News. XVII (4): 15.
  6. "Johannes Mudimu". Who's Who SA. 2012.
  7. "V Adm Refiloe Johannes Mudimu". Fact files. DefenceWeb.
  8. Vice Admiral Refiloe Johannes Mudimu | South African History Online
  9. "SA Navy Vision & Mission". RSA Department of Defence. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  10. Mokone, Tumo (March 3, 1998). "Navy swims steadily towards integration". City Press. Archived from the original on November 11, 2014. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  11. "SENIOR PROMOTIONS AND APPOINTMENTS IN THE SANDF". South African Government. 27 September 2000. Archived from the original on 17 January 2010. Retrieved 2013-05-08.
  12. Maluleka, Slindile (16 April 2012). "Plea to Africa to invest in navies". Independent Online. Retrieved 20 April 2012. SA Navy chief Vice-Admiral Johannes Mudimu has called on African countries to invest more in protecting their seas from piracy.
  13. Helfrich, Kim. "Hlongwane named new Navy Chief". Defenceweb. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  14. Helfrich, Kim. "Defence Review approved, new Armscor chairman named". DefenceWeb. Retrieved March 20, 2014.
  15. "Former ambassador Skweyiya is new Armscor chair". DefenceWeb. April 2, 2019. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  16. Durban Univ Technology to honour Navy Chief - Daily News |
  17. "Medals of Brazil". Orders, Decorations & Medals. 22 June 2009. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  18. Zulu, N.C. LS. "Seafarer bestowed Medal of Merit". Navy, RSA Department of Defence. Archived from the original on 17 March 2014. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
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