22 February 2021
Nomazulu Moyo/ Johannesburg – The Commander-in-Chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), President Cyril Ramaphosa, on Sunday hailed members of SANDF both living and dead, for their immense contribution to the sovereignty of South Africa.
Addressing the Armed Forces Day celebrations which were held at the Cape of Good Hope in Capetown, Ramaphosa said it is an event held annually to honor those who lost their lives in line of duty during World War One.
“The 21st of February this year marks 104 years since those brave soldiers met their demise in the line of duty. This came after the sinking of the SS Mendi steamship on 21 February 1917, ” The President said.
Ramaphosa said the SANDF must pick up the spears of these fallen heroes in effort to give South Africans peace and security.
”You who have the honour of being members of our armed forces, must pick up the spears of these fallen heroes and heroines in our effort to give our people lasting peace, security and stability,”he said.
The President said Armed Forces Day celebrations for last year were held in Polokwane just a few weeks before the coronavirus pandemic broke out in our country and that the SANDF has been essential to confront the virus.
“Through the invaluable work you have done – and continue to do – during this pandemic, you have demonstrated that the SANDF can be relied on in good times and in bad; in times of peace and times of war; in times of stability and prosperity, and in times of crisis,” said Ramaphosa.
The president said that it was our soldiers who helped to maintain law and order in the early days of the lockdown and by also providing humanitarian assistance.
“The SANDF undertook mercy missions to repatriate our citizens abroad who were fearful and wanted to be reunited with their families.The SA Army Engineers Corps helped deliver clean drinking water to vulnerable communities.” he said.
The SA Air Force and the Logistics Division managed the distribution of much needed supplies to deployed forces.
“The South African Military Health Service deployed its personnel in all provinces, where they worked in hotspots, and helped set up field hospitals and quarantine,” Ramaphosa maintained.
He emphasized that the SANDF women and men always put their lives in line in order to defend the country.
“We honour these men and women in uniform who continue to put their lives on the line to defend our nation and to contribute to peacekeeping and peace building on our continent.Men and women of the SANDF, we thank you for the work you have done to protect our country at this most difficult of times, where you spared neither strength nor courage,” he said.
Among those who graced this event were Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula,Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Mr Thabang Makwetla and chief of the South African National Defence Force, General Solly Shoke.