SAAF Chief hits out at ill-discipline, theft and corruption

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Lieutenant-General Wiseman Mbambo took part in an operations readiness session for senior SA Air Force (SAAF) officers to hammer home the importance of, among others, discipline as well as the damage theft and corruption causes.

On discipline he is reported as reprimanding those guilty of breaking “military dress regulations” and “displaying behaviour that does not reflect SAAF values, norms and standards”.

“This must stop,” Ad Astra editor Captain Tebogo August has the Chief telling the forum, which is being held at SAAF Headquarters from 12 to 14 July.

“Alarming is that even senior members are doing it without consequences. We did not coerce anyone to come and serve in this organisation, do not come here with your new rules, everything we do must be according to policy and dress regulation rules. Commanders and regimental sergeant majors, take charge or I will hold you personally accountable if I find violations in your areas of responsibility; this a disciplined defence force.

“Keep your bases and units neat. We might be under-resourced, but we must still look like soldiers. Commanders, do not abuse your authority, do not aim to be feared, lead and command to earn respect, we are all soldiers and we must abide by the set rules,” was the three-star’s overall take on discipline in the airborne service of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).

On the SAAF slogan “Free the Eagle” Mbambo said it targets a mind-set shift. “Let us not be comfortable with past successes, we must up the tempo and soar. I challenge every commander here to free the eagle within them with courage and purpose. We all know the worst enemy we are facing right now is time, we must accelerate toward implementation of the survey outcomes because we took bold decisions on various matters which must be executed in record time,” he said.

Warning those who steal from the military and who are corrupt, he said the SAAF will partner with relevant stakeholders who can assist the SAAF with a strong foundation of financial literacy to help support various life goals such as different saving methods, using debt responsibly and tracking personal spending responsibly.

Elaborating, he is reported as saying: “We have a limited allocation of resources to conduct our core business with regard to combat readiness. Despite these limitations we need to prioritise exercises to sharpen our operational skills – we have a mandate to provide Chief Joint Operations with combat ready capabilities”.

On SAAF personnel deployed internally and externally, Mbambo said “they continue to raise the flag high in the midst of challenges. When I went to see them, they were in high spirits, especially after the fatal incident that took Sergeant [Vusimusi] Mabena’s life in February. The MONUSCO Force Commander expressed his appreciation to the professional performance of SAAF personnel in the mission area.”