The Chief of Staff of the South African National Defence Force’s (SANDF’s) Joint Operations Division, Major General Ashton Mlindeni Sibango, bade farewell to the military at a parade last week.
Sibango retired after a military career spanning 39 years. A Farewell parade was hosted for him at the Pretoria Military Sports Grounds in Thaba Tshwane, Pretoria, on Friday 31 January.
Sibango was appointed in various positions in the SANDF ranging from a Defence Attaché in Malaysia to a Mission Commander for the delivery of the ballot papers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He also served in many staff appointments throughout the SANDF. “Sibango contributed greatly to the achievements of the SANDF during his career and would be well remembered in the defence community,” the SANDF said.
Sibango was born on 20 January 1960 and grew up in the rural Mahlamvu Village of Mqanduli in Eastern Cape from where he was educated and proceeded to complete his matric in 1980 at Holomisa High School. He joined the Transkei Defence Force on 20 January 1981 and on completion of his military training he served as a President and Ceremonial Guard until he was selected for officer cadet training in 1983. In 1984 he was commissioned as an officer and appointed as a Platoon Commander at the 1st Transkei Battalion. He rose through the ranks and completed various military courses.
“During his military career Sibango would pride himself for having been operationally active and successful in quelling an apartheid sponsored military coup of the then Transkei Military Administration led by the renegade rebel leader in 1990. He was instrumental in the training of former Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) and Azania Peoples Liberation Army (APLA) combatants. He then integrated into the SANDF in 1994 where he also completed various senior military courses inside and outside of South Africa,” the SANDF said.
On the academic front Major General Sibango acquired a few certificates at tertiary level, including a diploma in Public Administration from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) in 1995, a postgraduate Diploma in 2008 and Master of Management Degree in 2010.