South Africa’s top soldier General Solly Shoke used a recent parade at the SA Army Infantry School to urge military skills development (MSD) volunteers to abandon the culture of entitlement.
As far as can be ascertained it is the first time the Chief of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) has publicly alluded to either corruption or state capture. He is a strict disciplinarian who previously spoke out when soldiers were arrested or found guilty in connection with corruption and fraud saying there was no room for criminality of any sort in the national defence force.
He addressed MSD volunteers who successfully completed their six months basic training at the Oudtshoorn facility. According to SA Soldier, Shoke encouraged those on parade to look beyond the call of duty and “strive to develop the country and abandon the culture of entitlement” at their passing out parade.
“Being a soldier is a calling and you must be prepared to serve your country anytime it requires you to do so. You must be able to work as a team and must be able to listen to commands and must humble yourself. You must be prepared to be led if you are to become a future leader,” he said.
He also told the volunteers they had started the journey of becoming soldiers and did not flout discipline – a cornerstone of military organisations.
“It is as difficult task to convert as civilian into as soldier” he said telling the parade they “chose toc serve the country in uniform – not an easy task”.
“This profession requires a person to conduct him or herself in a manner befitting a professional soldier and in line with the Code of Conduct and it is also expected of you to abide by it.”
Shoke indicated soldiering was not for the faint hearted and urged recruits to prepare for more rigorous military training and undertake serious missions He also cautioned that some missions would be life threatening telling those on parade it would be “a sacrifice they must be prepared to make for the sake of South Africa and its people”.