Fitting tribute was paid to Gunner General Khaya Makina, who died in March, during an Artillery Formation capability demonstration in Potchefstroom this week.
CArmy Lieutenant General Lawrence Mbatha and the extended army command cadre (EACC) were in the North West town for a top level landward force conference with the demonstration a break from the rigours of planning and other work, including an up-close look at concept designs for the new uniform.
The artillery demonstration was hosted and executed by 4 Artillery Regiment whose Officer Commanding, Lieutenant Colonel MJ Tshabalala, explained it was not just another demonstration.
“The demonstration is also a commemoration for the fallen Number One Gunner and Artillery Formation GOC Brigadier General Makina. To honour him, during fire plan Joe Makina, gunners shot the GV5 155mm howitzer, M5 120mm mortar, as well as the 127mm self-propelled multiple rocket launcher Bateleur during the live firing exercise,” Tshabalala told those present.
Chief Director Chief Army Corporate Services, Major General T. Xundu, Chief Director Force Structure, Major General SG Hlongwa and Chief Director Defence Reserves, Major General Roy Anderson fired guns during Fire Plan Joe Makina in honour and memory of their colleague.
Makina died while attending an Army Command Council work session in Mookgophong, Limpopo on 25 March.
He was the gunners’ number one since January 2016 and was an artillerist through and through completing a bridging course post integration at Air Defence Artillery School/ 10 Anti-Aircraft Regiment in Kimberley.
Prior to integration, Makina underwent basic training in Angola specialising in artillery and ground engineering. In addition to serving as combat action platoon and engineering platoon commander, he attended and completed a Russian ground tactical artillery commander’s course in the Crimean Oblast, Ukraine. Among his first military taskings in democratic South Africa was as Staff Officer (Operations) and Company Commander of the National Peacekeeping Force in the Koeberg Battalion.
In 1995 he transferred to the School of Artillery in Potchefstroom, rising through the ranks to become the school’s officer commanding in February 2002. As a colonel he served in various posts as a senior staff officer (SSO) until he was named Artillery Formation headquarters Chief of Staff in January 2014 and subsequently GOC in 2016.
Makina was a decorated gunner and was awarded the Unitas medal, Medalje vir Troue Diens with the 20 year bar and the Good Service Medal (bronze) among others.
Sixty-four year-old Makina was born in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth (now Gqeberha) and is survived by his wife Nombeka Irene and son, Sethu.