Free State military installations on final oversight committee visit for the year

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The Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV) is in Free State on what can only be its final oversight visit of the year as Parliament is set to rise on 7 December.

Military veterans’ affairs are top of the agenda, according to a Parliamentary Communication Service advisory, while the programme has the delegation calling on two SA Army bases and facilities along with stops at Air Force Base (AFB) Bloemspruit and 3 Military Hospital.

First stop for the public representatives today (Wednesday, 23 November) is AFB Bloemspruit, home to 16 Squadron and its home grown Rooivalk combat support helicopter as well as 87 Helicopter Flying School. PCDMV members are to be briefed on base “mandate, history, successes and challenges” followed by a tour of the base opposite Bloemfontein’s Bram Fischer International Airport. The base is regularly used by paratroopers from Tempe-based units 44 Parachute Regiment and 1 Parachute Battalion for jump training from either one of the handful of airworthy 28 Squadron C-130BZs or the C212s of 41 Squadron.

At De Brug tomorrow (Thursday) the delegation will be briefed on “mandate, capacitation, successes and challenges of the mobilisation wing, army clothing depot and PME (prime mission equipment) warehouse”. Then comes what the programme terms a “walkabout” to the sites detailed in the briefing.

Stop number three of those planned for the three day visit is to Department of Military Veterans (DMV) “housing sites” to see completed houses as well as serviced sites where houses will be built for old soldiers. The Parliamentary media alert has the PCDMV meeting with DMV personnel at “provincial headquarters”.

Day three starts at 3 Military Hospital with the emphasis on the refurbishment project and then it’s off to Tempe military base. 1 SA Tank Regiment and the School of Armour are on the agenda for briefings followed what is termed “a tour of the facilities”.