In his year-end message, South Africa’s senior soldier General Rudzani Maphwanya told those he leads in the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) he was thankful for what they did in 2021 as well as the standard refrain of doing it with “disproportionally inadequate funding”.
“We have seen a fair share of hardships,” his Christmas message reads, adding South Africa’s uniformed government employees rose to the challenge and executed their mandate.
“I am grateful and proud to command a national defence force staffed by patriotic men and women from diverse backgrounds, united in their diversity to advance the vital mandate the people of South Africa entrust to us,” the four-star’s message continues.
“We stood to safeguard our Republic, not only against the COVID-19 threat, but also against those determined to undermine the authority of our democratic state.
“Many of our committed men and women in uniform will serve in various operations throughout the holiday season to ensure South Africans are safe. Some soldiers will be in faraway lands in pursuance of peace and security on the continent as part of our country’s continental obligations.
“Fellow soldiers, as we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, let me call out to those among us who are agents of another pandemic in our society, the pandemic of gender based violence and abuse. Let us renounce the perpetrators of this heinous crime that objectifies and dehumanises our girl children, sisters, daughters, mothers and all women. As the SANDF we stand united to say: ‘No to gender-based violence, this cannot continue happening, not in our name’”.
Turning to the mid-year Operation Prosper deployment following widespread unrest, looting and violence in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, Maphwanya said the SANDF had “a huge role when the country was kept on tenterhooks by those wreaking havoc and undermining the state”.
For those in uniform and working over the year-end period he urged them to remain vigilant at all times. This will contribute to keeping the security and integrity of military installations intact with capable men and women standing guard at all times to ward off attempts of theft or sabotage.