Lieutenant General Lawrence Mbatha heads the SA Army, the largest component both equipment and manpower-wise in the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).
To ensure best use of these resources, the three-star general called on some of what are known as “centres of excellence”. His first port of call this week was the SA Army College in Thaba Tshwane which, in its present guise, has offered training in military disciplines with specific relation to landward forces. The college campus also houses the national defence force’s peace mission training centre.
Addressing officers on the current iteration of the Junior Command and Staff Course Mbatha, as reported by Colonel Sammy Mosiane and Lieutenant Sisa Tsebula of Army Corporate Communication, emphasised the Constitutional mandate of the SANDF to defend and protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of South Africa and its people. The Army mandate of preparing and providing combat ready landward forces for employment under the direction of the Joint Operations Division fits in with the Constitutional mandate making leadership and command “pivotal and integral”.
Mbatha gave some insight into staffing and placements to the junior officers on course. According to Army Corporate Communication, soldiers who spent “lengthy period in ranks were empowered through appropriate functional and developmental study programmes, appointed and promoted”.
“This,” he added, “to a large extent boosted morale and esprit de corps (which the military communication officers have as ‘spirit de corps’)”.
The SA Army communication officers report on the landward force budget, not giving any detail, only stating there is optimism for future funding requirements for training and preparation of combat ready forces.
Mbatha is reported as saying funding is “to honour regional and continental obligations, especially for the African battle space, with a focus on conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and recent developments in Mozambique”.