Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula this month called on military bases in two provinces, one of them AFB Makhado which has had to generate its own electricity for the past year.
The visits were part of the Minister’s outreach programme to visit as many bases as possible during her term of office.
At the Limpopo air force base, also known as Fighter Town because it is home to the SA Air Force’s (SSAF) Hawk and Gripen jets, she was briefed on operational capabilities and also addressed uniformed and civilian personnel.
She also interacted with airmen and soldiers on personal issues according to the Defence Ministry which did not mention the ongoing electricity supply problem at the base.
In his first media briefing since taking over as SAAF Chief, Lieutenant General Zakes Msimang last week indicated progress was being made in righting the power supply at Makhado. Expectations are that the Department of Public Works will appoint a contractor to repair the faulty sub-station serving the base within the next six months. Until then the base will continue to generate its own power using at least part of its operating budget to pay for fuel.
Mapisa-Nqakula also visited the nearby Kutama village community where she told residents it was important to have good relations with military bases in their vicinity.
Next stop was Northern Cape where the Minister called on the SA Army Combat Training Centre at Lohathla. She also stopped at neighbouring communities and, in addition to stressing the need for good neighbourliness, she also told young people about the various careers on offer in the SANDF.
Mapisa-Nqakula is spearheading a national career initiative which has already staged roadshows at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth and the Mafikeng campus of the University of North West.