Just over three months into its existence the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Education Trust can already boast a healthy R4 million plus in its coffers to assist the families of soldiers and civilian employees who have lost their lives in service or been injured or wounded to the extent they cannot carry out their duties any longer.
The Trust, spearheaded by SANDF Chief General Solly Shoke, was spurred by the loss of life in the Central African Republic during the Battle for Bangui (where 15 soldiers died) and the crash of an A-109 helicopter in the Kruger National Park with five deaths this year.
Major General Roy Andersen, SANDF Reserve Force Chief, who is also one of the Fund’s three trustees, told defenceWeb that estimates were that about 100 soldiers and civilian employees of the Department of Defence and Military Veterans (DoDMV) had made the ultimate sacrifice since the SANDF came into existence more than 19 years ago.
“We are working on getting the exact number to ensure disbursements from the Trust go to the right people,” he said.
The first donation to the Trust of R1 million was made on national TV by Dr Irwin Khoza, chairman of glamour football club Orlando Pirates. Khoza is also an honorary colonel and serves as patron of the Trust.
This was followed by another R1 million donation from another PSL glamour club, Orlando Pirates.
A gala dinner, hosted by Shoke, at the General’s House in the grounds of the SA Air Force College in Thaba Tshwane earlier this month saw another R2.4 million either donated or pledged to the Trust.
The Trust has as its main objective to provide bursaries and scholarships to SANDF members killed or severely injured on official duty subsequent to the formation of the force on April 27, 1994. The same criteria apply to civilian members of either the DoDMV or the SANDF.
Education assistance is also available to South African citizens injured after April 27, 1994, during the course of an SANDF operation, or their family members, provided they can prove they were not engaged in any activity in opposition to the aims of the SANDF.
Speaking at the dinner Shoke said those who had pledged or donated indicated clearly to the families of the thousands of soldiers “you care and are willing to partner with government in improving the lives of our people”.
Contributions can be made to the SANDF Education Trust; Nedgroup Trust, Resident Trust Account, Nedbank. The branch is Corporate Client Services, 145209 and the account number is 1452016976. The reference SANDF Edu Trust and donor’s name should accompany all deposits.