CSANDF has “immense pride” in the Reserves

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South Africa’s most senior soldier, SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Chief, General Rudzani Maphwanya, is a staunch supporter of the Reserve Force judging by his guest editorial in the latest edition of The Reserve Force Volunteer.

Noting his “immense pride” in the part-time component of the SANDF, Maphwanya adds they are “drawn from every walk of life and united in diversity, bravery, hard work, discipline and determination in the face of adversity” which is “unceasing”.

“There has been no challenge or obstacle which you did not overcome. You answered the call to safeguard your fellow South Africans not only during manifestation and continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic, but as the volunteer citizen-soldiers you are, boldly standing over the line drawn in the sand to deter those who sought to undermine the authority of this hard fought for democratic state.”

The sole four-star in the national military machine goes further, telling the country’s part-time airmen, military medics, sailors and soldiers what they’ve done “in elevating the visibility of the Reserves” is beneficial to the SANDF and the Department of Defence (DoD).

He refers specifically to the ongoing border protection tasking Operation Corona and operations Notlela (COVID-19) and Prosper, the response to last July’s widespread civil unrest in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, as public evidence of Reserve Force action.

“Along with initiatives to empower Reserves not on call-up with skills to leverage themselves out of poverty outside the military environment bodes well for not only members of the organisation but the country at large.”

On the One Force concept, Maphwanya points to “unwavering vigilance” on the borders, “securing halls of governance, legislatures and judiciary, as well as places of commerce and businesses big and small when the need occasions, as examples of the good work done by the Reserves.

Acting Chief: Defence Reserves Brigadier General Zoleka Niyabo-Mana in her contribution to the quarterly publication notes Minister Thandi Modise’s DoD has “not escaped the strife” of national challenges that have seen “continuous and consistent budget cuts”. This, among others, means a 25% cut in Reserve Force mandays.

“The Reserves will feel this cut throughout the DoD as the Services have to adjust manday allocations in line with the prescribed cut. Throughout these difficult times, the Division (Reserves) will continue emphasising the significance of consistent implementation of the One Force concept and support Reserve Force members in any way possible,” the SA Air Force (SAAF) one-star writes.