An initiative led by SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Chief General Solly Shoke has already been supported to the tune of R2 million by two of the country’s glamour soccer clubs.
The SANDF Education Trust will assist dependents of soldiers killed during the course of military operations since the establishment of the force on April 27, 1994.
“Recent tragic incidents, including the loss of life in the Central African Republic and the Kruger National Park, gave impetus to the initiative,” said SANDF Director: Corporate Communications Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga.
Thirteen members of 1 Parachute Battalion were killed in the Battle for Bangui in March with two more wounded parabats succumbing to their injuries later in 1 Military Hospital. A month later a 15 Squadron Agusta A109 crashed in the Kruger National Park while on Operation Rhino anti-poaching duty. Three members of 5 Special Forces Regiment were killed along with the two-man flight crew.
Late last month Shoke went live on national TV to accept pledges from Dr Irvin Khoza, chairman of Orlando Pirates, who is also an honorary colonel, and Kaizer Motaung, the Kaizer Chiefs chairman.
“I would like to convey my gratitude to the chairmen of two of the biggest soccer clubs in the country for their contribution to the SANDF Education Trust,” the four star general said.
Money from the Trust will go to furthering the education of children of soldiers killed or severely injured during the course of their duties, either internally or on external deployment. Children of dead or severely injured soldiers at primary and secondary schools as well as those studying at universities are eligible for assistance from the Trust.