Local, national and international benefits to flow from Ex Shared Accord


A positive from the just completed Exercise Shared Accord noted by SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Joint Operations Division Chief, Lieutenant General Siphiwe Sangweni is “soldiers can also be humanitarians”.

The exercise, just on a month in length and concentrated on Richards Bay and surrounds in KwaZulu-Natal as well as the air force base in the Free State capital Bloemfontein, saw South African military personnel working with colleagues from the United States armed forces in joint humanitarian and peace support inter-operability serials.

Ahead of final capability demonstrations in the northern KwaZulu-Natal port city, Sangweni said the SANDF Military Command Council and CSANDF, General Rudzani Maphwanya, could look back on July with a sense of achievement.

He emphasised both countries had come a long way since a joint inter-operability exercise was first mooted in 2009 adding all editions allowed the partner nations to focus peacekeeping, peace enforcement and peace support operational training.

Summing up the exercise’s value, Sangweni said it proved soldiers can also be humanitarians.

Exercise Shared Accord 2022 took place in Mandela Month, Captain Jacques de Vries reports for Joint Operations with medical readiness and force training exercises bringing participants to communities in and around Richards Bay. This, Sangweni said “proved to the people of these local and district municipalities the military can be of use in operations other than war (OOTW)”.

It was hoped and expected “that our soldiers, security cluster functionaries and other participants come out of this training exercise with improved skills and an enhanced understanding of the conduct of peacekeeping and peace building”.

In Richards Bay and surrounding areas in rural clinics, participants worked to assist an untold number of sick people or refer them to where they could seek better care. Veterinary services were also provided.

Thanking local people for their patience and understanding when it came to the military personnel “descending on their city”, the three-star explained in force training activities of the exercise, “the public has seen our soldiers and medical specialists engage in scenarios on how to challenge in better reacting to combat and casualty care events”.

These scenarios saw armoured vehicles, helicopters and aeroplanes on the streets and in the air, with soldiers executing drills with professionalism and discipline. This improved confidence not only in the soldier, but also confidence in the individual in the eyes of the public.