Joint Ops Chief doubles up duties on Northern Cape visit


South African National Defence Force (SANDF) Joint Operations chief, Lieutenant General Barney Hlatshwayo, is a senior soldier who takes austerity and cost containment seriously, so much so he recently coupled an order from the Chief of the SANDF with a staff visit to Northern Cape Joint tactical headquarters.

Hlatshwayo, along with the chiefs of the SA Air Force, SA Army, SA Military Health Service and SA Navy, have all been tasked by General Solly Shoke to award long service medals on his behalf at parades across the country. The first parade was held in Pretoria in June.

Having been given the job, so to speak, of officiating at the Kimberley parade, Hlatshwayo put his staff to work setting up a visit to the Northern Cape tactical HQ as well as calling on the company operational base HQ at Louisvale near Upington. The distances involved when added to the brief time on the ground meant he could not personally call on the platoon base, the only Operation Corona base on the Namibia/South Africa border at present.

Major generals Thabiso Makhosi, GOC joint Ops HQ, and Mlandeli Kula, Chief Director: Operations, accompanied the Joint Operations Chief on the short visit.

In Kimberley he was briefed on the activities of Northern Cape Joint Ops Tactical HQ followed by a presentation and a question and answer session. The next day saw the high-level team from Joint Operations HQ at Thaba Tshwane’s Zwartkop Park fly to Upington for an Op Corona briefing. They were given an overview of operations including the vastness of the border area and topography which influences patrol activities, Captain (SAN) Jaco Theunissen, SSO Operational Communication, said.

Then it was back to the Northern Cape capital, Kimberley, to ensure final preparations for the next day’s medal parade were all in hand.

The parade was attended by the SA Army’s Air Defence Artillery Formation and 10 Anti-Aircraft Regiment. Hlatshwayo presented 38 SANDF members with 30 year service medals and bars.

Another medal parade will take place on August 4. Shoke will bestow military service medals during a parade at the Armscor Sport Grounds in Erasmuskloof. Two 40 Year Good Service Medals will be awarded and 135 30 Year Good Service Medals will be awarded.