Pretoria Regiment turns 100


Pretoria Regiment will exercise its right to the Freedom of the City on Saturday, July 6, as the major event to mark its centenary.

In addition to a drill company, the regiment will also parade its current Olifant Mark 2 main battle tank as well as its predecessor, the Olifant Mark 1A and a range of historic equipment as it marches through the southern side of the Pretoria CBD en route to the City Hall.

Here the salute will be taken by the General Officer Commanding the SA Army Armour Formation, Brigadier General Chris Geldenhuys, with Tshwane metro mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa also on the podium.

Regiment Officer Commanding Lieutenant Colonel Cliff van der Westhuizen said a rehearsal of the parade would take place next Thursday and warned there might be traffic disruptions in the late afternoon.

Apart from the parade, the regiment will mark its centenary with a church service, armour shot action event as well as a cocktail function and golf day.

The Reserve Force regiment was awarded the Freedom of the City of Pretoria on its 50th anniversary – July 1, 1963. It has since exercised its right to march through the city streets with banners unfurled and bayonets drawn on its 90th anniversary.

Pretoria Regiment has its origins in the Northern Mounted Rifles, established as a Transvaal Volunteer Unit in 1903 and disbanded in accordance with provision of the SA Defence Act of 1912. It was reconstituted as the 12th Infantry (Pretoria Regiment) as an active Citizen Force regiment on July 1, 1913.

It consisted of former members of the NMR, Pretoria companies of various volunteer regiments headquartered in Johannesburg and new recruits. No longer compulsory since 1994 the Pretoria Regiment now recruits volunteers among former Reserve and Regular Force soldiers and University of Pretoria students, men and women, black and white. By 2010 it included a Black major in the command cadre. Decentralised training enabled several members to be trained at the School of Armour in 2009, followed by promotions. Conventional training and skill tests have culminated in participation in exercises and training for peacekeeping operations as required for one of the SANDF’s major roles according to a regiment history compiled by retired Brigadier General Deon Fourie.