Chief of the SA National Defence Force, General Solly Shoke, has conferred medals to members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) for long service, including the Chiefs of the Air Force and Navy.
Shoke was the main functionary at the medal parade at the Armscor Sports Ground in Erasmuskloof on 15 October.
The following were conferred during the parade: three Forty Years Good Service Medals; 19 Forty Years Good Service Bars to the Medal; 62 Thirty Years Good Service Medals; and 44 Thirty Years Good Service Bars to the Medal.
Chief of the SA Navy, Vice Admiral Mosuwa Hlongwane received a Bar to the Thirty Years Good Service Medal as did Chief of the SA Air Force, Lieutenant General Zimpande Msimang.
The SANDF said the purpose of the medal parade was to honour SANDF members who have rendered good service in the defence force over the years. “The medals are conferred as a token of appreciation to members who have served with loyalty and dedication in execution of the SANDF mandate.”
Shoke, in his speech, said he was delighted to confer medals “to some of the finest soldiers that our country has ever produced. As our military marks 25-good-years of executing the constitutional mandate set for it, we do that with the full understanding that a mammoth mandate such as ours could not have been efficiently prosecuted had it not been for the selfless and unrelenting toil put in by the men and women in uniform, some of whom we have gathered here today on parade to decorate.
“We have come a long way as a military, from debilitating segregation to an inclusive national defence force that proudly stands tall amongst the legions of militaries on the continent in pursuance of collective solutions to Africa’s security challenges, and surely the country owes this achievement to the hard work and sacrifices made by these recipients on parade.
“As the SANDF, we emerged from a looming precipice due to a painful history of segregation and racial abuse, and ushered in a united, diverse and inclusive, non-racial military – an integrated national defence force that assumed the vital responsibility of being guarantor and defender of South Africa’s sovereignty as encapsulated in our constitution.
“And as most of the recipients gradually roll down the curtains to illustrious military careers, myself included, our country will look upon the next crop of patriotic South Africans to carry the baton forward and ensure that South Africa has the military that its people deserve. That is a challenge to all of us to ensure that we continue having a defence force that our constitution demands. A military structured and managed as a disciplined military force, whose primary object is to defend and protect the Republic, its territorial integrity and its people in accordance with the Constitution and the principles of international law regulating the use of force.”