SA Army commanders are “expected to look after prime mission equipment”, “maintain high serviceability” and “take more responsibility and accountability”.
These exhortations were delivered to the Extended Army Command Cadre (EACC) by Chief of the SA Army, Lieutenant General Lawrence Mbatha, at what Colonel Sammy Mosiane, SSO SA Army Corporate Communication, reported was “a prestigious event” over the just past weekend. According to him the meeting at the SA Army Combat Training Centre (CTC) in Northern Cape was “a golden opportunity for the collective leadership to comprehensively get a sense of several milestones the SA Army has reached (sic)”.
The three-star at the head of the largest component of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) elaborated on specific issues during his opening address to formation and unit commanders. They were the Defence Review, the army’s mandate and intent as well as a synopsis of the “tremendous strides made” and general issues affecting the landward force.
In terms of bringing his commanders to speed on current realities, the communications senior staff officer reports the force “remains agents of change” to steer the Army “in the right path”.
Mbatha reportedly told those present that decisions and options taken in line with short to medium term plans should be “simple and understood by all”. He went further saying decisions should be “realistic and sustainable through proper research consistently conducted in line with our vision/theme – not thumb sucking – followed by a detailed, critical and proper planning process that speaks to current reality and challenges”.
“We do not have enough but are expected to make the best out of the little we have at our disposal as leaders and commanders on the ground,” Mbatha told his command cadre.
On the issue of a new uniform and boots, “major strides” have been made, according to Mbatha.
“The manufacturing industry is assisting in providing more durable and better quality boots. The combat boot will go into trial in the coming weeks. The new camouflage uniform has been registered and is now protected for SA Army/SANDF use only. The SA Army collective leadership is hard at work to be as innovative as possible in addressing the issue of uniforms and boots which remain a critical concern for the professional image of our soldiers.”
CArmy told the EACC the collective leadership of the pride (in line with the SA Army insignia of a stylised pride of lions) “embarked on an aggressive approach to decisively address the backlog of courses” as well as paying attention to career planning and management of army personnel – “especially those perceived to have stagnated in their ranks for quite some time”.
As with other SANDF service chiefs when addressing personnel, Mbatha reminded those under his command of “current budgetary constraints”. He called for correct care and maintenance of prime mission equipment to ensure high levels of serviceability.
“Go back to basics and take more responsibility,” was his parting shot.