New GOC for Army Intelligence Formation


Change of command parades are not an unusual occurrence in the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) but one scheduled for Potchefstroom tomorrow marks another milestone on government’s gender agenda.

When Brigadier General Nontobeka Mpaxa takes over command of the SA Army Intelligence formation from Major General Norman Yengeni, she will become the first woman to head up the landward force’s overall intelligence capability.

The parade takes place at the School of Tactical Intelligence, one of two units making up the Army’s intelligence arm along with 1 Tactical Intelligence Unit.

Mpaxa is no stranger to breaking the previously male command mould of the early SANDF.

She was the first woman soldier to command an infantry battalion – 14 at Umtata in the Eastern Cape. Following this she was promoted to colonel and became the first woman to head up an army support base. This was also in the Eastern Cape at Port Elizabeth. Her next posting was to the Northern Cape where she served as commandant of the Army combat Training Centre at Lothatla.

Her appointment as General Officer Commanding of the Intelligence Formation also marks a first in that she becomes the first woman to head up an Army formation.

Yengeni served in the Intelligence Formation GOC post for two years before being promoted to major general. He is now Chief Director: Human Resource Management in the Department of Defence and Military Veterans.