Military Academy holds passing out parade while class of 2024 takes up positions


The end of the 2023 academic year at the Military Academy in Saldanha was, as is the case with tertiary military education internationally, marked by temporarily soaring headgear on conclusion of the passing out parade at the West Coast campus.

A first for the Academy was a cannon salute executed by the Reserve Force unit, the Nelson Mandela Artillery Regiment (formerly the Cape Field Artillery) with Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thandi Modise on hand as “main functionary” for the end-of-year event. Also present was SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Chief of Staff (CoS), Lieutenant General Michael Ramantswana, who acted as review officer and inspected the parade.

The class of 2023, all third year students from the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and known by the academic acronym MA23, were urged by Modise to “embody the values” instilled during their time at the Academy to make a positive impact on the SANDF and the “whole of South Africa”, Academy Communication Officer, Major Engela Meintjies, reported.

The Academy Sword of Honour for the best third year student went to Lieutenant Jan Mametjie, also named as the Best Defence Intelligence (DI) Student. Other trophy winners were Best SA Navy (SAN) Student, Midshipman Warner Koch; Best SA Army Student Lieutenant Dewald Dyason; and Best Instructor, Major Swipey Lourens.

The passing out parade also saw 2023 outgoing student captain Lieutenant Tshepo Modise hand the reins of command to his successor, Candidate Officer (CO) Theo Plaatjie.

2024 students incoming

Meanwhile, the 2024 Military Academy class – from here on MA26 – is up and running following a welcome parade attended the General Officer Commanding (GOC) Training Command Major General Sandile Hlongwa.

Welcoming MA26 on 2 February, Academy Commandant, Brigadier General Cassie de Castro, told the newcomers they are privileged to study at a unit of the Academy’s calibre and expressed the hope the first years would emulate and build on the success achieved by their predecessors.

His words were echoed by Professor Samuel Tshehla, Military Science Faculty Dean, who issued copies of the Code of Honour to each first year on parade. The professor indicated the newcomers would be well to use the Code as a guideline for the duration of their three-year stay at the Military Academy.

The welcome day wrapped up with a tea function at the Academy Combined Club where the birthdays of the Commandant and Dean were marked and celebrated.