Handle by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Armed Forces Day 21 Feb 2022

Minister of Defence and Army Veterans, Ms Thandi Modise,

Deputy Minister of Defence and Army Veterans, Mr Thabang Makwetla,

Secretary for Defence, Ambassador Sonto Kudjoe,

Chief of the South African Nationwide Defence Drive, Basic Rudzani Maphwanya,

The Army Command,

Generals and Admirals,

Officers, Warrant Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers,

Fellow South Africans,

It’s with the best of honour that I stand right here at the moment to pay tribute to the women and men of our armed forces.

Over the previous 12 months, underneath situations that had been tough, demanding and unprecedented in our democratic historical past, the women and men of the South African Nationwide Defence Drive have served this nation with the utmost distinction.

It’s now two years because the begin of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SANDF was there, aiding with the implementation and upkeep of the Nationwide State of Catastrophe within the early weeks and months of the pandemic.

It’s seven months since components of South Africa skilled the worst unrest in our democracy’s historical past, resulting in lack of life, destruction of infrastructure and devastation of companies.

The SANDF was there, aiding regulation enforcement businesses to revive order and defend key financial infrastructure.

And when our Parliament was engulfed in hearth at the start of this 12 months, it was our personnel from Air Drive Base Ysterplaat Army Aviation Rescue and Firefighting Providers who had been a part of the primary responders to douse the flames.

In neighbouring Mozambique, a cyclone prompted flooding and devastation.

The SANDF was there, aiding with the evacuation of flooded areas and distributing humanitarian reduction.

The federal government of Mozambique continues to battle a lethal insurgency within the north that poses a menace to the safety and stability of your complete area.

The SANDF was there, deployed as a part of the SADC Mission in Mozambique.

I had the privilege of assembly with the troops earlier this month, once I attended Nationwide Heroes Day celebrations in Mozambique.

These courageous women and men are there to revive stability and forestall a spill-over of the battle into different nations.

Final month we welcomed again the members of 15 SA Infantry Battalion from their deployment to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Since 2001, members of the SANDF have been a part of peacekeeping operations underneath the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission within the DRC, referred to as MONUSCO.

In any respect these moments of uncertainty, disaster and really actual hazard for our nation, for our neighbours and for our continent Africa, the SANDF has been there.

As we proceed to drive growth and resolve service supply challenges that instantly influence the lives of our folks, the SANDF has been there.

The SA Army Engineers had been there as a part of a multisectoral staff to wash up the Vaal River to make it protected for communities.

Till the center of final 12 months, military engineers assisted with repairing broken infrastructure that had prompted the contamination of the river.

As our mass COVID-19 vaccination drive began final 12 months, the SANDF was there, rolling out a vaccination marketing campaign for its varied items and formations, in addition to for navy veterans.

As schoolchildren in rural areas battled to cross harmful rivers to get to highschool, the SANDF engineers had been there, establishing bridges as a part of the Welisizwe Rural Bridges Programme.

In keeping with our Structure, the first goal of the armed forces is to defend and defend the Republic.

The SANDF has greater than lived as much as this activity, notably over the previous 12 months, when our nation endured nice tribulations.

How apt, then, is the saying that the truest measure of braveness is perseverance underneath stress.

Because the Commander-in Chief of the SANDF, I couldn’t be prouder of you.

Our nation couldn’t be prouder of you.

As a folks, we’re reassured that irrespective of the circumstances our nation faces, the SANDF will at all times be there.

The SANDF is among the final traces of defence to revive order, preserve calm, assist our folks and defend the territorial integrity of our Republic.

The horrible experiences of the July 2021 unrest has left deep wounds.

It examined the authority of the state and the power of our democracy.

At that second of nice disaster, the sight of a uniformed SANDF member on the market, conserving us protected, restoring calm, gave reassurance at a time when many had been fearful.

Their presence reminded us as soon as extra that now we have honourable armed forces who took an oath to serve and to guard, and to by no means dishonour the reason for freedom.

On Armed Forces Day we bear in mind the servicemen of the South African Native Labour Corps who perished in the course of the sinking of the SS Mendi within the English Channel on February the twenty first, 1917.

We honour all of the women and men in uniform who’ve misplaced their lives within the line of responsibility, at dwelling and on exterior operations.

At the moment, we pay homage to Corporal Tebogo Radebe, who was killed in Cabo Delgado late final 12 months throughout a deployment as a part of the SADC Mission in Mozambique.

The complete nation owes a debt of gratitude to his household for having selflessly shared him with us in order that he might fulfil his patriotic responsibility to serve the nation of his forebears.

We bear in mind all our troopers who’ve fallen within the line of responsibility within the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and Sudan.

These gallant troopers died in the reason for peace and freedom for Africa.

Their deaths remind us that our freedom, our lifestyle and the peace that we get pleasure from as a rustic comes at a worth.

We’re additionally grateful to our troopers conducting border safeguarding operations.

Our troops put their lives on the road to make sure that peace and stability prevails in South Africa and outdoors our borders.

They accomplish that in pursuance of our worldwide obligations in the direction of continental peace and safety.

It’s heroes in uniform – fallen and nonetheless standing – who ensure that South Africans are capable of retire in peace at evening figuring out that the nation is protected.

We all know that the SANDF has many challenges.

Our navy, like each different organ of state, has needed to conduct its substantial operations within the face of extraordinarily restricted assets and a rising catalogue of commitments.

I commend the management of our navy and all members of our armed forces for fulfilling their tasks at the same time as we grapple with funding challenges that have an effect on varied defence programmes and growth actions.

We’re trying, inside these constraints, at methods to higher useful resource our defence pressure with the instruments they should fulfil their mandate.

We’re observing Armed Forces Day this 12 months conscious that we’re nonetheless within the throes of a worldwide pandemic.

Our battle in opposition to COVID-19 just isn’t but gained, and we should proceed to work as a united nation to place this pandemic effectively and really behind us.

In your function because the SANDF in stopping the lack of extra lives to the pandemic, in working with regulation enforcement businesses and communities to finish the unrest, and in serving to civilians within the troubled areas of our continent, your nation thanks you.

For remaining ever vigilant and ever able to reply the decision of responsibility, we thanks.

We honour you and we salute you.

I thanks.

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