Army Reserves Director busy with two big projects

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Apart from overseeing a pilot project to involve the reserve component of the SA Army in rural economic development, Brigadier General Gerhard Kamffer is also the man in overall charge of the renaming project of Army Reserve Force units.

The renaming project is an initiative of SA Army Chief, Lieutenant General Vusi Masondo. He said earlier this year there was “nothing sinister” in the proposal to change Army Reserve Force unit 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.

As the recently appointed Director: Army Reserves, Kamffer will report to the Reserve Force Council’s November meeting on submissions for new unit and regiment names. He replaced Major General Keith Mokoape, who retired earlier this year.

His involvement with the Army Reserves goes back to 2003 when he was appointed project officer for the rejuvenation and transformation of the Reserves (Project Phoenix).

In August Kamffer was in North West to launch the pilot project in the South African National Defence Force’s (SANDF) commitment to rural infrastructure development, an initiative of former Defence and Military Veterans Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.

This will see the SANDF use its footprint of both bases and land in North West to set up nodal points or hubs from where community engagement, stakeholder co-ordination and infrastructural requirements will work in, among others, supplying fresh produce to military based in premier Thandi Modise’s province.

Potchefstroom, with a number of military units based there, has been identified as one area where the rural development initiative can be successful. This is because the spend on military rations in and around the town last year was in the order of R61 million plus.

Kamffer has more than 40 years’ service in the SA Army starting with national service in 1973 where he served as a platoon commander at 4 SA infantry Battalion, then based at Middelburg in what is today Mpumalanga. He was Officer Commanding of the now disbanded Heidelberg Commando for nine years and in 1998 was appointed SSO Commandos at Army headquarters with the substantive rank of Colonel. He has also successfully completed the Senior Command and Staff Duties course at the SA Army College. In 2005 he was promoted to brigadier general and the following year he successfully completed the Executive National Security programme at the Defence College.

Involvement with the name change project is both a challenge and an interest for him. This because of his love of military history which saw him undertake all the background research for the project.