The SA National Defence Force’s well-intentioned plan to honour the memory of former president Nelson Mandela with a series of medal parades has passed its June 30 deadline and a number of identified recipients still have to receive their Mandela medals.
Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga, director: corporate communication, said in response to a defenceWeb enquiry that 2,219 of the specially designed and struck medals were presented at medal parades held in Gauteng, Eastern and Western Cape, Free State, North West and Limpopo.
The first Mandela medal parade at AFB Waterkloof last December was overseen by SANDF Commander-in-Chief, President Jacob Zuma. He was also the senior parade review attendee at the February Armed Forces Day parade in Potchefstroom where he presented 34 Mandela medals.
To date SANDF members and civilians involved in the care of Mandela before his death and his State funeral have been presented with 107 of the medals in the gold class, 75 in silver and 2,032 in bronze.
The SANDF indicated earlier this year it expected to present around 10,000 Mandela medals, an initiative led by SANDF Chief General Solly Shoke.
Only one arm of service – the SA Air Force – supplied information on the number of parades and Mandela medals awarded. Parades were held at AFB Makhado (70 medals), AFB Waterkloof (413 medals), 68 Air School (32 medals), AFB Zwartkop (300 medals), AFB Langebaanweg (200 medals), SAAF Headquarters Unit (277 medals), 10 Air Depot (20 medals), SAAF College (10 medals), AFB Bloemspruit (102 medals), AFB Durban (21 medals) and AFB Hoedspruit (138 medals).