A military parade was held at the Pretoria Military Sports Club in Thaba Tshwane to celebrate the outgoing chief of Joint Operations (JOps), Lieutenant General Barney Hlatshwayo and incoming chief, Lieutenant General Rudzani Maphwanya, on 27 November.
Members on parade were from the four arms of service (the South African Army, Air Force, Navy and Military Health Service) with battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Wylbag, leading the parade. The parade also featured the South African Navy Band under the direction of Master Warrant Officer Ngwenya.
The parade began with the general salute and a salute flight by a South African Air Force (SAAF) A109 helicopter with the South African National Flag attached below the aircraft. A South African Special Forces Parachute Demonstration team of six then jumped and parachuted from a CASA 212 aircraft from a height of four thousand feet, landing directly in front of the parade. As they landed and aligned into formation, the Special Forces team handed the ceremonial scroll for the change of command to the outgoing Hlatshwayo.
This was followed by the reading of Hlatshwayo’s CV, highlighting his role in the Azanian People’s Liberation Army (APLA) integration into the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in 1994, the many joint military exercises he has directed, planned and participated in as well as his role as Chief Military Advisor for the facilitation of the Burundi Peace Process.
Hlatshwayo then gave his outgoing address in which he thanked all those involved for his time in the SANDF and noted the success in his time as Chief of JOps in saying, “Our soldiers have indeed executed their duties in ensuring that the RSA [Republic of South Africa] is secure and safe, whether in times of disaster and calamities, in peacekeeping and in nation building, in internal and external operations, tangible results have been achieved.” Hlatshwayo concluded his outgoing speech by expressing his faith in Maphwanya and stated, “Last but not least I want to assure my successor that I will support him when required…I know he [Maphwanya] will serve the country with pride, dignity and diligence.”
The ceremonial scroll for JOps was then read by the outgoing Hlatshwayo along with the ceremonial JOps sword handed over to incoming Maphwanya. Maphwanya read out his part for incoming chief of JOps and officially became the new Chief of Joint Operations.
The change of command event concluded with the parade withdrawing from the sports ground and members of the SANDF along with members of other militaries and civilian spectators convened in a marquee adjacent to the sports ground to hear the incoming Chief of JOps give his opening address.
Lieutenant General Rudzani Maphwanya was born in Limpopo on 23 November 1960 where he grew up and matriculated. He soon joined Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the military wing of the African National Congress. Maphwanya’s MK military career spanned from 1978 to 1994, joining the SANDF in 1994. Maphwanya completed an array of military courses up until his final military course, the Executive National Security Programme in 2004.
He held various positions in the SANDF, most notably serving as Chief of Staff of the South African Special Forces between 2003 and 2005. He was appointed as General Officer Commanding the South African Special Forces from 2006 until 2016 when he was promoted to Lieutenant General as General Officer Commanding the South African Army Infantry Formation.
Lieutenant General Maphwanya obtained his B Com Degree in 1994 at the University of the North (now University of Limpopo) and a Certificate in Total Quality Management in 2003 at the University of South Africa (UNISA). He also completed a Strategic Management Programme at the University of Pretoria in 2005, a Post Graduate Diploma in Security Management at the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS) in 2012 and a Masters of Management degree at the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS) in 2015.