C-in-C’s attendance at Armed Forces Day parade confirmed

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Torrential rain and localised flooding in KwaZulu-Natal is putting the ingenuity of the national defence force’s logistic specialists to the test as they battle the elements and the clock preparing for Armed Forces Day (AFD) and associated events.

A major weather-related hiccup forced relocation of military personnel from a tent village in the Richards Bay industrial development zone, more or less at the same time as President Cyril Ramaphosa’s attendance on 21 February was confirmed by his office.

Relocation of an unknown number of military personnel to community halls in and around Richards Bay was ordered by what the officer tasked with AFD communications, Captain (SAN) Prince Tshabalala, called the AFD23 Joint Command Cadre.

With personnel ensconced in drier accommodation, SA Army Engineer formation specialists are working with civilian counterparts to deal with the flooded military campsite.

Presidential spokesman Vincent Magwenya confirmed Ramaphosa will be in Richards Bay on Tuesday, 21 February, to take the AFD parade salute.

Speaking at a media briefing yesterday (Sunday), he said: “The President will, in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of our armed forces officiate AFD in Richards Bay”.

“This is an occasion on which South Africans can witness and take pride in the human and technological capabilities of our armed forces.

“It is also an occasion when we honour men and women who lost their lives in the course of their patriotic duty in the country or on international missions.

“AFD is further an occasion that fuels the imagination of young South Africans in terms of choosing career paths and exercising their passions and abilities,” he said according to a statement on The Presidency.

The 21 February parade on Bullion Avenue in the northern KwaZulu-Natal port city is the highlight and culmination of AFD 2023 which started a week ago on 6 February. Displays of military equipment and career information on what all the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) can offer as well as a military medical rural outreach programme are some events staged to showcase exactly what the armed forces are and can do.