Polokwane to host Armed Forces Day 2020


Armed Forces Day, or to be more exact Week, will be marked in landlocked Limpopo province next year.

Provincial capital Polokwane will be host city for the event to be presented by the SA Army. Indications are the event will start on Monday, 17 February and end on Friday, 21 February, marking the loss of the SS Mendi, South Africa’s worst naval tragedy.

This comes from Department of Defence (DoD) head of communication Siphiwe Dlamini who said it “still has to be put” to the Army Command whether it will incorporate the 25th anniversary of South Africa’s democratic defence force into Armed Forces Week.

To date only the maritime service of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) has officially marked 25 years of democratic defence. Various events in Simon’s Town, under the banner of Project Tshintsha, celebrated the anniversary. What is widely called “The People’s Navy” renamed fleet headquarters buildings, published as coffee table book and mounted a fleet review, among others, earlier this month.

The SA Air Force (SAAF) will next year host a number of activities to celebrate 25 years of defence in a democracy as well as its own centenary. The air force is seen as the second oldest Commonwealth air force.

Speaking at the recent SAAF Museum air show, SAAF Chief Lieutenant General Zakes Msimang said the centennial history of the force would be recognised in 2020 “through a post-apartheid outlook”. Main SAAF centenary celebrations will form part of next year’s Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) exhibition at ASFB Waterkloof in September, with the commemoration starting in February at Air Force Prestige Day. The SAAF officially came into existence on 1 February 1920.

Armed Forces Day 2021 will, if the stated objective of taking the event to all provinces is followed, be held in Mpumalanga with provincial capital Mbombela the host city.