Chaplain Service Division marks a milestone


The Chaplain Service Division of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) can be said to have “attained its majority” evidenced by its first internal promotion parade.

Marking the occasion Colonel Caroline Pillay is reported as saying the parade at the Service’s Faerie Glen headquarters, was “significant because it’s the first time the Chaplain General had the privilege to bestow promotional ranks onto newly appointed colonels and officially congratulate newly promoted chaplains from level four”.

“This day (31 May) marks a new chapter for military chaplains as they have, ‘a first of its own kind’ rank ceremonial under my leadership, Chaplain General Brigadier General Thabo Masweu, is reported as saying by Ad Astra intern  Nondumiso Ndhlela.

“I stand here proudly as this is a gratifying moment for me after requesting the service chiefs to grant us this day, where we have our own new thing as chaplains. This, to celebrate each other, create a new chapter and make history that will have our names written on it. Together with the successes and failures, it must say we have nourished the spirits of our fellow members, we fought side by side and we all emerged victorious.”

He then handed new rank insignia and certificates to the new colonel chaplains, known colloquially across the national defence force as “padres”.

“We as chaplains do more than offer prayers and preach during military ceremonies, we offer our services to Department of Defence (DoD) personnel and their families when they need moral support and spiritual upliftment. We tend to their spiritual wellbeing through counselling sessions, prayers for soldiers going and coming back from deployments and we empower then when going through life’s challenges. We are recognised religious leaders with qualifications in theology and other relevant courses,” is how SA Air Force (SAAF) Air Command Chaplain T Ndala explained the role of padres in the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).