Mapisa-Nqakula challenges world’s militaries to plant trees – not bombs


Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula tomorrow (Thursday, 14 November) oversees the arrival of a tree delivered by an SA Air Force (SAAF) helicopter and will assist in its planting in Durban to mark the start of the global “Plant Trees, Not Bombs” campaign.

The tree will be delivered to the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in the port city with Graca Machel, in her capacity as chair of Global Peace, and Mapisa-Nqakula the main functionaries.

As part of the “Plant Trees, Not Bombs” campaign the Defence Minister has, according to a statement, committed the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) to plant a million trees.

The Minister will challenge her counterparts across the world to plant a million trees each using the military with a global target of planting 75 million trees by 25 October 2020 when the United Nations marks its 75th anniversary in New York, the statement issued by Department of Defence (DoD) head of communications Siphiwe Dlamini notes.

“Plant Trees, Not Bombs” is a global peace initiative which aims to highlight the need for increased action to reduce and halt the effects of climate change.

The national defence force, through environmental services, part of the overall Facilities Management function, oversees all conservation and environment related activities in the SANDF.

This has seen, until at least two years ago, an annual environment awards programme across all four services of the SANDF. Floating trophies and runner-up awards were presented to units as far apart as Makhado (AFB Makhado) in Limpopo to Langebaanweg (AFB Langebaanweg) on the West Coast. Awards were presented for, among others, integrated management of training areas; base environmental management; and environmental education, awareness and training. Award sponsors included the national conservation agency SANParks and leading environment NGO, the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT).