Retiring CSANDF national tour kicks off in North West

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Outgoing SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Chief, General Solly Shoke, used this week’s SA Army Extended Army Command Cadre (EACC) meeting to bid farewell to commanders of the landward force.

An SANDF Corporate Communications Directorate statement has it the call on North West military hub Potchefstroom, also known as Tlokwe, was a courtesy visit. The directorate, commanded by Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi, has yet to respond – apart from stating it’s being planned – to defenceWeb enquiries regarding the by-now traditional end of duty tour visit by a retiring SANDF Chief to bases, units, regiments, services, divisions and higher education facilities.

“Shoke’s visit,” according to the statement, “afforded him an opportunity to convey his farewells to landward force commanders, under the command of incumbent Chief of the SA Army, Lieutenant General Lawrence Mbatha”.

He also, the statement said, “gave a guiding parting shot” to the Army command cadre “to stay the course and uphold the Constitution mandate to protect and defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic against all odds”.

“Serve the country honourably and rise above ideological, petty political and personal interests.

“Always keep in mind the need to exercise sound, unfettered, fair and objective driven command and control of forces and assets at your disposal in advancement of the South African polity and preservation of a fit-for-purpose national defence force, alive and responsive to the challenges South Africa country is grappling with,” he said.

He challenged Army commanders to deal with issues of command and leadership humanely, while being firm and fair to subordinates. The retiring CSANDF warned officers against corruption, nepotism, favouritism and reminded all the SANDF cannot harbour criminals.

He made a point of the need for commanders to apply the limited resources at their disposal economically in a manner ensuring the achievement of ordered military commitments and tasks are not compromised. In similar vein he warned against abuse of prime mission equipment adding commanders should do “everything practically possible to maintain and preserve equipment and facilities in tip-top shape amid dwindling budget allocations”.

On South Africa’s commitment to continental and international peace and security, Shoke emphasised both commanders and troops should recognise conflicts in the sub-region (southern Africa) impact directly on South Africa’s national security and the SANDF is expected to be combat and mission ready to respond swiftly to ordered tasks, both in and externally.