This year’s SA Air Force (SAAF) Museum airshow is a major casualty – defence-wise – of the coronavirus pandemic.
The airshow was set down for 9 May at AFB Swartkop, the oldest base in the SAAF, and would have been a commemorative one marking both the centenary of the airborne component of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) and its 25th anniversary since democracy.
SAAF Chief Lieutenant General Zakes Msimang penned a six page instruction on guidelines to deal with the pandemic for his service.
One states “all corporate events over the period 16 March to 31 May are cancelled with immediate effect”.
The air force will also cancel all military parades over the same period and will not provide support to government or for public events. This includes the Rand Show.
Among other guidelines are that all roll call parades will continue and “take place in a decentralised manner to keep below the 100 threshold, especially bases and units (including training centres) which have more than a hundred members”. All sports activities are suspended until 31 May and gymnasiums at all SAAF bases will not be used.
Air rorce courses where more than 100 members are attending are suspended until further notice and foreign nationals currently on SAAF courses “may stay on and continue their studies”, subject to newly implemented base and unit coronavirus prevention rules on testing and sanitising. Restricting numbers in SAAF training institution classes to less than 100 is another rule to be enforced in attempting to “level the curve” of coronavirus infections.
The air force is also doing away for biometric access control for the foreseeable future.
“Directors and officers commanding will instruct members to utilise military or base ID cards to access their places of work. Protection squadrons will be in position at all access point to ensure is not compromised.” To make sure this happens SAAF Reserves “must be called up to assist in the case of staff shortages,” Msimang writes in the instruction.
Financial provision has been made for sanitising equipment and material to be placed at key positions. This includes work environments. All SAAF entry and exit points, transports sections, duty buses and ablution facilities.