An SA Army divisional exercise planned for November will incorporate the “public debut” – for want of a better word – of a new work dress 19 months after it became known the landward force planned to replace its daily uniform.
CArmy Lieutenant General Lawrence Mbatha is reported by the senior landward force communication officer as informing SA Army headquarters staff of this during a recent “communication period” in Pretoria.
“The new camouflage uniform will mainly be for operational utilisation internally and externally. The first roll-out is planned to be displayed during the divisional exercise on 24 November 2022,” the three-star is reported as saying by Colonel Sammy Mosiane, SSO Army Communication.
The first inkling of new apparel for soldiers came from an extended Army command cadre conference in Potchefstroom in April 2021. Those present reportedly had sight of “concept designs”. Reasons given for replacing the daily dress of the majority of soldiers, as well as personnel in other services and divisions, included the existing camouflage pattern and uniform design being “compromised and old fashioned” and not “catering for the African body profile”. “No female design available” was given as another reason for replacement.
Mbatha did not elaborate on the “divisional exercise” referring only to progress with establishing four modern brigades in the landward force.
He included the new formations in his list of successes presented to staff, telling them there was progress on “fully established and functional headquarters”. Modern brigades include a mechanised one at the Combat Training Centre (CTC) in Lohathla; a motorised one in South Kensington, Johannesburg; an airborne one in Bloemfontein with what is called a light modern brigade in Thaba Tshwane.