Hlatshwayo assumes command of JOps

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Lieutenant General Barney Hlatshwayo accepted command of the Joint Operations Division of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) during a parade on 3 March.

General Solly Shoke, Chief of the SANDF, charged Hlatshwayo with command during a ceremony at the SA Military Health Service Training Formation in Thaba Tshwane, taking over from Rear Admiral Derek Christian, the Deputy Chief of Joint Operations, who acted as Chief of Joint Operations until December 2016. Hlatshwayo took up his new post on 1 January, but only accepted formal command on Friday.

This is the third Chief of Joint Operations in a short space of time, as Lieutenant General Derrick Mgwebi was in December 2015 appointed as the Force Commander of the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), and his successor Lieutenant General Duma Mdutyana passed away on 6 July 2016.

Hlatshwayo is no newcomer to the Joint Operations Division as he has been with the Division since December 2001 until January 2016. His last appointment was the General Officer Commanding Team Bulisa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to assist the DRC Defence Force in the compilation of their Policy and Strategy from February 2016 until December 2016.

During his acceptance speech, which followed a flypast of two A109s carrying South African flags, and a parade of soldiers and vehicles, Hlatshwayo said it was an honour to take up his new post and pledged to take the Joint Operations Division to greater heights.

He said that he has learnt that the defence force is not the only department shat should be utilised in deployments and that collaboration with other departments is essential. This division has been involved in a number of operations in Africa, notably in Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Central Africa, Burundi and the DRC and assisted in the elections in Comoros. “We did our duty despite the limited resources we had,” he said, with all operations being successful.

Hlatshwayo noted that the SANDF is currently deployed on Operation Copper in the Mozambique Channel, on all borders of South Africa and assists other departments with regard to search and rescue, humanitarian assistance etc.

The Joint Operations Division is responsible for the employment of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) assets. When there is an operation or an exercise the Joint Operations Division ensures the execution of that operation or exercise by utilising the necessary personnel and equipment from the four arms of service.

According to his CV, Lieutenant General Barney Muntu Norman Hlatshwayo was born on 19 November 1958 in Soweto. After matriculation, he completed Basic Military Training in Tanzania. He joined the Azanian Peoples’ Liberation Army (APLA) on 2 October 1976 as one of the students who participated in the June 16 uprising. While serving in APLA during 1978, he was Liaison Officer in the Mbeya Region of Southern Tanzania co-ordinating and liaising with the Tanzania Peoples’ Defence Force. He served as APLA’s Military Attaché in Dar es Salaam from 1979 to 1980 and as Officer Commanding the Ithumbi Military Base in the Mbeya Region of Southern Tanzania from 1981 to 1985.

From 1984 to 1986 General Hlatshwayo was Director Operations at APLA HQ in Tanzania. He served as Chief of Staff of the APLA HQ in Tanzania and the APLA Office in Zimbabwe from 1986 to 1994. Lt Gen Hlatshwayo played a key role in the SANDF’s integration process as the APLA key co-ordinator for a number of integration work groups.

He completed his Platoon Commanders’ course in the Peoples’ Republic of China, Company Commanders’ course in Sudan and the Intermediate Staff course in Zimbabwe.

As a member of the South African National Defence Force, the General served in the following posts:

Senior Staff Officer Integration from 1994 – 1996.

SSO Doctrine (Directorate Training) from 1996 – 1998.

Deputy Chief Director Army Force Structure from 1998 – 2001, with the appointment he was promoted to Brigadier General.

Director Mobilisation and Demobilisation, (now known as the Joint Force Preparation and Training) at the Joint Operations Division in Pretoria from 1 December 2001 until 2005.

General Officer Commanding, Joint Operational Headquarters from 1 January 2005 until 30 October 2010, with the appointment General Hlatshwayo was promoted to Major General.

Chief Director Operations (Joint Operations Division) from 1 November 2010 until 1 December 2011.

Chief Director Operations Development from 1 December 2011 until 31 January 2016.

General Officer Commanding Team Bulisa in the DRC to assist the DRC Defence Force in the compilation of their Policy and Strategy as of February 2016 until December 2016.

Chief Joint Operations from 1 January 2017. General Hlatshwayo was promoted to Lieutenant General with the appointment.

Some of his career highlights include playing a leading role in negotiating APLA’s integration into the SANDF in 1994; as Director Force Preparation and Training he directed, planned and participated in major Joint Military Exercises such as: Airborne Africa, Ndlovu, Blue Hungwe, Tanzanite, Blue Angel, De Gamo, Med Flag, and Rainbow Track



He was appointed as Chief Military Advisor for the facilitation of the Burundi peace process (with Deputy President Zuma and later former Minister C. Nqakula). He participated and assisted in concluding peace agreements with the armed political parties in Burundi.
Click here to view a gallery of the parade.