Come the end of November SA Army Chief Lieutenant General Vusi Masondo should have an idea of how many, if any, of the Reserve Force units under his command are in favour of changing their names.
A number of suggestions were submitted to the Army’s name review steering committee during a first round. This was extended to a second round “with more detailed guidelines” the SA National Defence Force’s (SANDF) corporate communications directorate said in response to a defenceWeb enquiry.
In an effort to spread the message about new, more South African orientated names for Reserve Force units a road show, due to finish at the end of this month, is currently underway.
This forms part of the second round of the name review process first made public by SA Army Chief, Lieutenant General Vusi Masondo in June.
“The SA Army’s name review steering committee advised CArmy despite the fact that response during the first round was positive, a second round must be undertaken with more detailed guidelines,” the directorate said.
A road show is currently underway to “orient” stakeholders – unit members – on options to be followed when submitting new names for their units/regiments.
Those units who want to change names have until the end of October to submit their proposals and reasons for them to the name review steering committee.
This committee will “consolidate” the proposals during November and advise the man at the helm of the country’s landward forces “on the way forward” the directorate said.
Earlier this year Masondo said there was nothing sinister in the proposal to change Army Reserve Force units’ names.
“It is a voluntary process supported within the reserve environment with the aim of acquiring a level of synergy among all role players so that unit and regiment names reflect cohesiveness and regimental pride among all reserves,” he said in Thaba Tshwane in June.
While some Reserve Force soldiers have indicated they do not object to name changes others feel it will take away history and traditions from regiments, some of which have existed for more than 100 years.
Reserve Force members canvassed by defenceWeb had differing opinions on name changes.
“All the pros and cons will have to be properly weighed up before any regiment name is consigned to the history books,” a Western Cape Reserve Force member said.
A Mpumalanga-based Reserve Force officer was more forthright saying name changes had been part and parcel of the South African landscape 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 positively saying: “I hope it’s the latter”.