Eighteen medals awarded during Armed Forces Day 2023

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Commander-in-Chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), Cyril Ramaphosa, awarded a total of 18 medals to SANDF members and their families during the 21 February Armed Forces Day commemoration, for acts of bravery.

The medals included the Nkwe ya Gauta – Golden Leopard, awarded for bravery. This was instituted in 2003 to replace the Honoris Crux Gold and is South Africa’s highest military decoration for bravery. Ten Nkwe ya Gauta medals were awarded, including three posthumously. The latter were accepted by the families of Leading Seaman Amrithlall Tothara Ramdin, Able Seaman Francois William Mundell and Seaman Henro ter Borg who died while attempting to rescue workmen at Durban’s naval base in February 2017.

Deployed to Durban for Armed Forces Day 2017, the three were attempting to rescue workmen who were repairing a sewerage valve at the naval base and had lost consciousness after inhaling leaking gas fumes.

Ramaphosa also awarded six Nkwe ya Selefera (Silver Leopard) medals for acts of conspicuous bravery, and two Nkwe ya Boronse (Bronze Leopard) medals for bravery.

These were handed to members of the South African Special Forces.