The Chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), General Rudzani Maphwanya, is currently on an official visit to Pakistan, and has vowed to forge closer ties with the country.
Maphwanya called on General Nadeem Raza, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, at Joint Staff Headquarters in Rawalpindi, Pakistan’s Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR) service said on 27 July.
“During the meetings, both sides deliberated upon bilateral cooperation, security and prevailing regional environment. The dignitaries dilated upon measures to enhance the level and scope of military to military engagements between both countries and reaffirmed to continue to forge deeper ties. The visiting dignitary lauded the professionalism of Pakistan Armed Forces and acknowledged their sacrifices in fight against terrorism,” the ISPR said.
The ISPR added that on 27 July, Maphwanya called on General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS). During the meeting, “matters of mutual interests, regional security situation and defence, training and security cooperation between both the countries were discussed. The COAS said that Pakistan attaches great value to its relations with South Africa. Pakistan views South Africa as a key country in African continent and we appreciate South Africa’s role towards regional peace, security and development of African region.”
“Pakistan views South Africa as a key country in African continent and we appreciate South Africa’s role towards regional peace, security and development of African region,” the military’s media wing cited General Bajwa as saying.
Both the dignitaries pledged to play their role for further improvement in bilateral cooperation at all levels.
South Africa and Pakistan have for years enjoyed close ties and each country has hosted military counterparts. Dozens of South African National Defence Force members have undergone training in Pakistan.
In March 2017, South Africa and Pakistan signed a government-to-government defence co-operation agreement which includes industrial co-operation. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula in Pakistan on the first official visit by a South African Minister of Defence and Military Veterans in democratic South Africa. She was preceded by General Solly Shoke, former Chief of the South African National Defence Force, who visited various Pakistani military headquarters and facilities.
South African delegations visited Pakistan on numerous occasions and Pakistani delegations have come to South Africa – Pakistani naval vessels also visited. In 2019, as one example, the Chief of the Pakistan Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Kha and Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa paid friendly visits to South Africa.
The Pakistani military sent students to the Army College in South Africa while Pakistan accepted South African officers for staff college training. Pakistan also trained South African personnel in special forces roles. In 2019 the SANDF said around 40 South African commanders were trained in Pakistan. This included counter-terrorism training.
Pakistan has shown interest in South African military hardware, including Umkhonto surface-to-air missiles and 155 mm self-propelled artillery.