While there are those who do not want names of SA Army Reserve Force units to change others are more forthright about the issue.
One of these is Lieutenant Colonel Dries Joubert, Officer Commanding the Barberton-headquartered Regiment Botha.
Stressing he was speaking in his personal capacity he told defenceWeb name changes “have been with us in South Africa since 1994”.
“So what? Are we going to let that kill us as Reserves or are we going to prove South Africa can still rely on her sons and daughters to serve our country?” he asked and answered his own question affirmatively adding: “I hope it’s the latter”.
The possibility of changing regiment and unit names was raised two years ago by the Army’s name review steering committee. Reserve Force components of the landward arm of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) were voluntarily requested to suggest appropriate new names for their regiments and units.
“Reaction by units at the time was welcomed but the process did not fully achieve the goal set by the name review steering committee,” SANDF director corporate communications Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga said last month.
“For the next phase the committee proposed to SA Army Chief Lieutenant General Vusi Masondo a second round be initiated with all Army Reserve units again instructed to review names on a voluntary basis. These names will then be presented to the committee,” he said adding “no date has been set for finalisation of the process.”
Down in Mpumalanga Joubert had been thinking far ahead of the Army’s upper command echelons in Pretoria.
“In 2006 my regiment voluntarily requested a name change. At the time it seemed the right thing to do as the regiment had been inactive for over 10 years.
“The request was never granted. This did not deter loyal regiment members and their dedication and hard work saw the regiment come back to life. They ensured the name Regiment Botha stands for we what believe in: integrity, devotion to our country where race and gender do not matter and maintenance of the highest possible standards of discipline. A reliable and proud regiment as it should be.”
Again emphasising it was a personal opinion he said: “Regiment members are the ones who will either make or break the name or make sure it stands as a symbol of pride not sentiment.”