Cape Town city fathers anti “their” Reserve Force regiments changing names


There’s been at least one objection to the Reserve Force regiments/units name changes. It was made by the City of Cape Town and has no bearing on either the apartheid or colonial part of the part-time units in its municipal boundaries.

Mayor Dan Plato pointed out in a letter to then SA Army Chief, Lieutenant General Lindile Yam, soon after the new names were announced in October 2019 retaining “Cape Town” and “Cape” in Reserve Force regiment names is necessary to ensure the brands continue to exist.

The Mother City’s first citizen points out public communication has it all stakeholders were consulted adding, to the contrary, “we are not aware of any approach made to the City of Cape Town to comment on proposed name changes”.

“The city is an interested stakeholder because there are units within its boundaries whose staffing is drawn from citizens of the city. Further the city has granted Freedom of Entry to a number of units. We have a responsibility to ensure the Cape Town brand continues to be promoted.

“We are concerned the name changes would result in the loss of the words ‘Cape Town’ from all units while other cities and town continue to hold the privilege of units which include their names.

“There are currently two units with Cape Town in their names – Cape Town Rifles and Cape Town Highlanders. Two other units – Cape Field Artillery and Cape Garrison Artillery – have Cape in their names.

Cape Town Rifles, popularly “The Dukes”, is now Chief Langalibalele Rifles  and Cape Town Highlanders is the Gonnema Regiment with Cape Field Artillery now the Nelson Mandela Artillery Regiment and Cape Garrison the Autshumato Anti-Aircraft Regiment.

“All four are slated for name changes that will remove location” Plato wrote giving the examples of Durban Light Infantry, Kimberley Regiment, Johannesburg Light Horse Regiments, Pretoria Armour Regiment, Johannesburg Regiment, Tshwane Regiment and Regiment Umzimvubu.

There was, at the time of publication, no indication Plato’s letter was answered.

As of this month (August) new heraldry and insignia has been approved for just three of the 52 renamed Reserve Force units which have another 13 months to make changes. New heraldry and insignia application are in progress at five “authorities” involved. Those awaiting approval are iHawu Field Engineer Regiment (formerly 3 Field Engineer Regiment), Umkhonto Field Engineer Regiment (formerly 19 Field Engineer Regiment), Ukhozi Parachute Engineer Regiment (formerly 44 Parachute Engineer Regiment), iNgobamakhosi Carbineers (formerly Natal Carbineers) and Solomon Mahlangu Regiment (formerly Transvaal Scottish).

The approval list is headed by the State Herald and SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Heraldry with approval also needed from the regiment/unit involved; the relevant SA Army formation, for example air defence, armour or infantry with current SA Army Chief Lieutenant General Lawrence Mbatha last on the list.