SAAF officers back from Cuban training


A batch of SA Air Force (SAAF) officers are the latest beneficiaries of Cuban military expertise and training thanks to what is known in the national defence force as a “foreign learning opportunity” (FLO).

The group, seemingly recently returned from Cuba as part of the joint Cuba/South Africa defence co-operation agreement Project Thusano, were congratulated by SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Chief, General Rudzani Maphwanya, at air force headquarters on “graduating” in Cuba.

Captain Tebogo August of the SAAF publication Ad Astra, reports the air force officers “sharpened the edge” ahead of graduating, without specifying what course/programme/qualification they achieved.

Maphwanya is reported as telling the officers back from the Caribbean Island nation: “Military education and training intends to establish and improve the capabilities of military personnel in their respective roles” with exchange programmes such as the Cuban/South African one providing a knowledge exchange platform.

“It is astounding what a well-trained and dedicated soldier can do and accomplish in the face of death, fear physical privation and an enemy determined to kill them. These are the challenges that those who took an oath to defend the nation face when they go to war. Whether one is a foot soldier in the SA Army, a sailor in the SA Navy, an air traffic controller in the SA Air Force or a doctor in the South African Military Health Service. Every man and woman in uniform must be prepared to make contact with the enemy, survive and accomplish the mission,” the four-star’s morale boosting welcome home went with the rider: “I’m glad programmes of this nature exist because warfare is always changing and we should also evolve on how we tackle it”.