The SA Military Academy hosted the 8th South African-Netherlands International Security Course last month with Academy communication officer, Major Engela Meintjes, noting it is becoming an annual event attracting increasing attention from the African continent.
Members from the Centre for Military Studies (CEMIS) at the South African Military Academy and members from the Netherlands Defence Academy co-hosted and organised the event.
The aim of the course is to provide young officers with a proper appreciation of international relations and to develop skills necessary for forming and developing opinions. Participants received a number of presentations during the course and also had ample opportunity to participate in discussions and make presentations on different subjects. The approach was twofold: to provide relevant information on international relations and security and to stimulate debate and independent thought on the subject.
Course content is intended to address the needs of junior officers serving on peacekeeping or other complex missions. The course also equips attendees with a broader understanding of the various geo-political environments in which current missions are undertaken as well as provide knowledge transfer on human rights, the law of armed conflict, the role of gender in conflict and peace and lessons learnt from specific case studies.
This year the students were officers from the SA National Defence Force, as well as officers from the defence forces of Mali, Botswana, Kenya, Uganda, Angola, Namibia and Zambia. The course was presented by lecturers from CEMIS (SA Military Academy), the Netherlands Defence Academy, Transparency International and from the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross).
The certificate ceremony was attended by the GOC Training Command, Major General Gordon Yekelo, the Military Academy Commandant, Brigadier General Lawrence Mbatha, the General Officer of Air Force Base Langebaanweg, Brigadier General Mac Matanda, the outgoing Netherlands attaché, Lieutenant Colonel Eric Geerligs as well as the incoming Netherlands attaché, Lieutenant Colonel van Rossum and Prof Samuel Tshehla (Dean Faculty Military Science).
During his speech Yekelo impressed on students they should apply the knowledge received on the course throughout their careers, but must also cherish friendships made. Mbatha said worlds are moving closer together and collaboration between countries is becoming increasingly important. That is why courses like this lay a good foundation for the future and future leaders.