Lancelot Mathebula is new SAAF Chief Director Force Preparation

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Former Air Force Base Makhado commander Major General Lancelot Mathebula has started his new role as Chief Director Force Preparation of the South African Air Force (SAAF).

Mathebula was given his new ranks by SAAF Chief, Lieutenant General Wiseman Mbambo, on 2 March at SA Air Force Headquarters. He replaces Major General Mbukeli Songqushwa, who retired on 28 February.

Captain Tebogo August, Editor of Ad Astra Magazine, in giving Mathebula’s biographical history that he was born 26 January 1978 in Temba, Hammanskraal, and later moved to Soshanguve. He completed high school in 1996 at Ratshepo High School in Temba.

Before joining the South African Air Force, he studied Metallurgical Engineering at Tshwane University of Technology. He joined the SA Air Force in January 2000 as a pupil pilot. He completed his Technology & Management certificate which included ground school at the Military Academy in Saldanha in 2001. In 2002 he was commissioned as an officer and qualified as a pilot at Air Force Base Langebaanweg.

He joined the Combat line in 2003 and qualified as a wingman on the Impala Mk I and Mk II at 85 Combat Flying School in 2005 at Air Force Base Hoedspruit. In. 2006, he was transferred to AFB Makhado to fly the Hawk Mk 120 Lead-In Fighter Trainer and qualified as a flight leader in 2009 and subsequently transferred to 2 Squadron to fly the JAS 39 Gripen.

He completed his tour at the Operational Squadron in 2012. He subsequently completed the the Instructors’ Course in 2014 as a B category instructor, and further qualified as a pilot attack instructor in 2016.

Mathebula completed all SA Air Force developmental courses, and had an opportunity to complete some in the United States of America. In 2018 he was promoted to the rank of Colonel as the Air Wing Coordinator of Air Force Base Makhado. The other major achievement he holds is his Post Graduate Diploma in Security and Management from Wits University. In March 2021, he was appointed as Officer Commanding Air Force Base Makhado and became the first black fighter pilot to command the Base.

The highlights of his career include being an exchange pilot in a programme held in the United Kingdom, being a Hawk 2v1 Display pilot, participating in exercise Red Flag in the United States, and Exercise Lion Effort in Sweden.