CSANDF encourages attachés to foster peace, security, and cooperation

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Chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), General Rudzani Maphwanya, was the guest of honour at the Military Attaché and Advisory Corps (MAAC) Ball in Pretoria last weekend, where he encouraged cooperation in the interests of peace and stability.

“We are not islands, we all depend on each other,” Maphwanya said in his speech at the Pretoria Country Club on 29 January. “Through Military Attaché and Advisory Corps engagements, we have been able to address security challenges facing us as sovereign nations…and over the years it has been crystal clear our governments would be better served if we had better cooperation in research and development, combating of terrorism and other threats that continue to threaten the peaceful coexistence of nations.”

Maphwanya told the audience that, “The security threats on the African continent and everywhere else in the world affects all of us. We always subscribe to the notion that security is relative…You are as safe as your neighbour. We therefore live in this world where one security challenge affects everyone else.”

Addressing the coronavirus pandemic that has disrupted the world for the last two years, the most senior ranking member in the SANDF said it has resulted in the securitisation of purely health issues. He urged militaries not to get involved in politics, “for politics is not our domain.” He added that “Covid-19 has now redefined the battlefield and our related issues of national security and stability, so we need to talk more about them and how to best resolve some of these issues.”

Brigadier General Mohamed Harb, Egyptian defence attaché and Dean of the Military Attaché and Advisory Corps, said he was honoured to have SANDF leaders, including the Chief of the SANDF, present at the Ball, which is the first to have taken place since the coronavirus pandemic began, and which attracted record attendance.

“We as the MAAC board promised the MAAC community to open doors and build bridges of cooperation between our members and the South African National Defence Force and here we are, fulfilling our promise and building a good, strong and awesome relationship with the key personnel of the SANDF.”

Harb said that having the Chief of the SANDF in attendance means a lot to the attaché community as it symbolises the full and high-level support from the SANDF. “This means that a full, concrete, cooperation is now on the ground between our community and the SANDF through DFR [Defence Foreign Relations].”