Two hundred plus army formative officers’ course soldiers make the grade

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The SA Army Gymnasium in Heidelberg, Gauteng, was home to over 200 young men and women aspiring to be officers in the landward force for the past six months.

Their successful academic efforts were rewarded by a graduation passing out parade this week.

The parade review officer was Army Chief, Lieutenant General Lawrence Mbatha, who told the 110 men and 99 women who successfully completed the officers’ formative course, their achievements “cannot be attributed to the individual” and should be seen in the best interests of the collective.

The three-star is reported by Captain T Tshoagong of SA Army Corporate Communication as telling those on parade the collective leadership of the pride always puts the interests of the landward force first. This was in reference to the first SA Army chief in the democratic era, Gilbert Ramano, who rebranded the largest component of the then fledgling SA National Defence Force (SANDF) “a pride of lions” and changed insignia accordingly.

“As you graduate from this officers’ formative programme, we expect you to add to our arsenal a youthful, technology savvy force, rejuvenated and able to add a modern generation of well-researched best practices to improve the condition of the SANDF,” Mbatha is reported as saying.

He cautioned that, as officers, discipline should always remain the watchword as “it will enable them to inspire others to follow their lead”. Continuing, Mbatha said the operations the South African military is involved in demand “a new breed of soldiers who fit the criteria of rapidly deployable expeditionary forces”.

“This will have a direct impact on the required profile of the leadership corps particularly junior and middle [management] officers”.