First 2017 SANDF goodwill parcels handed out at De Brug mobilisation centre


The annual thank you for services rendered by soldiers deployed in and outside South Africa every year started this week at the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) mobilisation centre.

About 350 soldiers at the De Brug training area outside Bloemfontein, awaiting continental deployment to the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), were the first to receive goodwill parcels. Brigadier General Phillip Mavhungu, Joint Operations HQ Chief of Staff, was the senior officer during the “dispensing” parade.

The project was started 16 years ago by the then Sergeant Major of the SANDF “Jakes” Jacobs, who in the current rank structure would now have been a Master Chief Warrant Officer. He requested senior NCOs in all four services – air force, army, military health and navy – to each donate R1. This would be used to bring some festive cheer to soldiers deployed on either continental peacekeeping or elsewhere away from home bases and family.

Jacobs set a target which was surpassed by the generosity of his senior NCOs and he found himself with R25 000. The money was used to buy and ensure food parcels were delivered to every South African soldier deployed in Burundi at that time.

The bar has been raised in recent years with SANDF senior management reaching out to the corporate sector. This year there are 14 corporate sponsors and they pledged more than R2 million for the 2017 Goodwill Project.

Overall, this means over R65 million has been raised by donations, starting with the pockets of sergeants major and going on to the EFTs of major companies.

December 4 to 8 has been set aside for handing over of goodwill parcels to soldiers deployed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by corporate sponsors’ representatives and senior SANDF officers. The following week will see a repeat with a similar group visiting various Operation Corona bases and tactical headquarters units.