Former SA Army chief director is new Chief Reserve Force

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The “new” man leading the Reserve component of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) is 64-year-old retired major general Stephen Marumo.

He has replaced Roy Andersen, who stood down in May 2021 when then SANDF chief, General Solly Shoke, retired. Ahead of Marumo’s appointment, said by the Reserve Force Volunteer publication to have been effective from September last year, SA Air Force (SAAF) Brigadier General Zoleka Niyabo was acting Defence Reserves chief.

In January this year Marumo was presented with the symbol of the Chief: Defence Reserves’ office – a plaque-mounted bayonet symbolising authority and status. Responding to a Parliamentary question 13 months ago, Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thandi Modise indicated selection of a replacement for Andersen was “at an advanced stage” – a month before Marumo, as per the Reserve Force publication, took office.

On his current position, seemingly the first since retiring in 2019, Marumo writes he accepted the post “with the profound understanding the responsibilities coupled with the assignment cannot be taken for granted”.

“I commit to avail my experience and know-how every step of the way,” he told South Africa’s part-time airmen and women, military medics, sailors and soldiers, adding Reserve Force capability and participation in operations was and remains “a critical requirement”.

Marumo’s military career started in 1976 when he left South Africa to join the African National Congress (ANC) military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK). Basic training was followed by anti-aircraft missile training and rank advancement until he returned to South Africa in 1993. Integration into the then fledgling SANDF, Marumo found himself in the then Anti-Aircraft Corps of the SA Army.

He served as Staff Officer Level 1 Anti-Air (Lieutenant Colonel) and was later appointed and promoted to Group 22 Commander (Colonel) in Kimberley. Marumo was promoted to Brigadier General and appointed General Officer Commanding Air Defence Artillery Formation in October 2000. A second star in 2009 saw him become General Officer Commanding Support Formation followed by Chief Director SA Army Corporate Services before his final posting as Chief Director Defence Acquisition Management.

He was deployed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) under the auspices of the then United Nations Mission in Congo (MONUC) in 2006 and went to Burundi in 2007-2008 to monitor integration of rebel remnants into the Burundi Army.