Name changes for Army Reserve Force units finalised

Army Reserve unit name changesIt’s now more than four years since the then SA Army Chief indicated name changes for Reserve Force units and regiments to make them more South African would be coming, and the process is reaching finality.

This is the message Lieutenant General Lindile Yam has for Army Reserves. Yam was appointed chief of the largest component of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) earlier this year.

Writing in the Reserve Force Volunteer publication, Yam states: “The SA Army has successfully finalised the name review process for Army Reserve units”.

“The aim of the exercise is to acquire a level of synergy among roleplayers with unit names of regiments reflecting cohesiveness and regimental pride among all Reserves.”

Yam said the name change process made provision for accommodating South African military history “currently not reflected in the make-up of the Force”.

“The process also accommodated regional uniqueness as well as the acknowledgement of military heroes of the past and the contributions they made to the South Africa of today.”

Yam maintains South Africa “possesses a rich and diverse military history that spans many centuries”.

“This history reflects a variety of themes, cultures, traditions, organisational features, combat experiences as well as personal histories.

“In the spirit of building a common military culture as well as being relevant to the new South Africa there is enough scope to ensure unit names are, in a balanced way, reflective of the country’s rich and diverse military history and heritage.”

He does not give any indication of new names that have been suggested or when any name changes will be implemented apart from saying “the results will be released once the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans has approved the new names”.

Last year Brigadier General Gerhard Kamffer, who heads up the name review steering committee, said the ethnic composition of the SA Army Reserves in terms of Africans, Coloureds and Asians is 87%.

“To cater for this culture composition, new units will have to be raised and identity changes introduced. The changes have to reflect cultural identities, symbols and accoutrements to which to which members may feel greater affinity,” he said adding there were indications “some African members are embracing the history and traditions of their current units even though some symbols reflect only part of South Africa’s military history”.

The name change process saw a series of roadshows visit Army Reserve Force units across all nine provinces as well as other consultative forums to discuss new names for existing units.