With China looking to enhance bilateral relations and cooperation with South Africa regarding military veterans’ welfare, the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in South Africa organised two events in October.
The Embassy organised the donation by the South Africa-China Shenzhen General Chamber of Commerce of 40 000 protective masks to South African military veterans via the Department of Military Veterans (DMV) on 2 October 2020.
The ceremony took place at the Embassy in Pretoria and was attended by Major General Shang Hong, the Chinese Defence Attache, and Lieutenant General (Ret) Derrick Mgwebi, Acting Director General of the DMV.
The second event was a donation of 500 food parcels by the Embassy to the June & Andrew Mlangeni Foundation on 31 October. Andrew Mlangeni was the first recruit outside of the ANC high command to be selected by Nelson Mandela to join the new uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) in 1961 and Mlangeni was in the first group of six persons who went to China in 1962 for military training, the first country to accept MK members for training.
The Foundation distributed those parcels to Soweto residents on the same day.
To further increase cooperation in the field of military veterans between the two countries, the DMV and the Embassy plan to draft a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). It is intended for the MOU to cover aspects such as academic support to military veterans and their dependants, business empowerment, skills development, agriculture and to also assist the DMV with a “proper database system.”
A Chinese Embassy staff member told defenceWeb that the Chinese Defence Attache’s office is “looking forward to cooperating with our partners such as the DMV and South African military veterans associations to develop some programmes to encourage the exchanges between the military veterans institutes both in South Africa and China, and also make some contributions to the welfare of military veterans.”