Commander-In-Chief Meets His Troops In Kimberley
“Mr. President, here are your troops,” declared the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula as she called upon the Commander-in-Chief President Cyril Ramaphosa to address the military assemblage in prayer. Kimberley’s Mittah Seperepere Convention Centre was packed by soldiers from varied branches of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and a few civilians for its Inter-Faith service. President Ramaphosa extolled the SANDF for allowing for the “flourishing of the Constitutional order in our country.”
Having made amendments to his speech and reading from his gadget, the business-like President Ramaphosa hit his stride, powered by maximum presidential aura in his salute of what he dubbed “our national pride.”
The occurrences in South Africa’s political landscape in recent weeks were reflected upon as President Ramaphosa flagged the Inter-Faith service and other build-up activities of the SANDF’s Armed Forces Day set for February 21 in Kimberley. “They occur as our nation celebrates the change of leadership in the governing party without any appetite for senseless bloodshed because our Defence Force is led by wise women and men who abide to the ideal of the supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of law,” said the President, in his first address as Commander-in-Chief.
Sworn in on Thursday 15 February, promising to abide by the country’s supreme law; the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, the nation got enwrapped in hope as President Ramaphosa delivered his State of the Nation Address (SONA) in the evening of this past Friday. And, on the day of prayer for millions of South African’s subscribing to its dominant religion, Christianity, Sunday 18 was the day of his first public address outside of the parliamentary chambers.
Last week, it remained unclear as to whether there was going to be a President addressing the key event and salute the army in the display of its militaristic prowess. President Ramaphosa gave the guarantee that he will be back for Armed Forces Day, this Wednesday in Kimberley.
When asked about the internal wrangles of the past between soldiers from the liberation movements and those of the former South African Defence Force (SADF), particularly during the amalgamation processes, Chief of the SANDF General Solly Shoke told SolomonStar Online that the activities mirror a united culture. “If there is anything that I can say we have achieved as the South African National Defence Force is to unite all the former opposing forces and that is why there is peace and we are operating peacefully. That is why you will never hear of conflicts. Constitutionally this is supposed to be a disciplined Defence Force and we stick by that and we are professionals.”
The Convention Centre chronicled the story of a South Africa propelled from being on tenterhooks over the past few weeks amid calls for President Ramaphosa’s predecessor Jacob Zuma to step down, to finding itself “imbued with optimism.” Multitudes descended on this centre named after the late Mkhonto We Sizwe combatant who was affectionately known as Mama Mittah.
According to the Presidency, the Armed forces Inter-Faith service was hosted by the army as part of the build-up to the official commemoration of Armed Forces Day on Wednesday, 21 February 2018, which commemorates the sinking of the SS Mendi, in which a large number of soldiers lost their lives in 1917. The activities also serve as a centenary celebration of the SANDF’s first Commander-in-Chief Nelson Mandela. Meanwhile, Kimberley has already been engrossed in multi-showcasing of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) with the Air Force dominating its skies and other service branches exhibiting artillery, promoting army careers, rendering army entertainment and other activities of pomp and ceremony.