President Jacob Zuma yesterday appointed Lieutenant General Solly Zacharia Shoke as the Chief of the South African National Defence Force with effect from June 1. He replaces General Nhlanhla Ngwenya, who was recently appointed South Africa’s Ambassador to the Republic of Angola.
Lieutenant General Shoke has served the country’s defence force with distinction since the birth of the new South African National Defence Force, in various capacities, the Presidency said in a statement. Until recently he has been the Chief of the South African Army, the largest component of the four services which make up the defence force, with others being the South African Air Force, the South African Navy and the South African Military Health Service.
“I am confident that Lt General Shoke will serve the defence force, this country and its people with honour and dignity and will discharge his duties with the required zeal and commitment given his understanding of the mandate of the Defence Force,” President Zuma said.
Lt General Shoke was born in the Alexandra township of Johannesburg in August 1956 and has numerous qualifications in fields including Human Resource Management Defence Management.
He received his basic military training in Angola and served in various capacities in the African National Congress’ military wing uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) including as part of the Underground Leadership Collective (Operation Vula) and Commander of the Transvaal Machinery.
He transferred to the South African National Defence Force when MK was incorporated into it in 1994.
In 1998, Maj Gen Shoke commanded the South African Development Community forces during Operation Boleas in Lesotho. He was promoted to Chief of the South African Army in 2004.