SANDF Chief of Staff visits Uganda


South African National Defence Force (SANDF) Chief of staff Lieutenant General Vusi Masondo has visited Uganda with the aim of strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries defence forces.

Masondo left on 27 June and is due back in South Africa today (Friday). Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi from SANDF Defence Corporate Communication told defenceWeb that Masondo was invited to Uganda by the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF). “The aim of the visit is to strengthen military relations between the two Defence Forces,” Mgobozi said.

Masondo yesterday attended a graduation ceremony which saw two SANDF members graduate from a Ugandan command and staff course. The South African National Defence Force allows officers to do their staff courses in different countries, such as Cuba and Uganda. Personnel are also currently training in Russia, amongst others.

Ugandan personnel have also trained in South Africa, notably with the Executive National Security Programme (ENSP) at the South African National Defense College in Pretoria. Over 100 Ugandan personnel were in South Africa in October/November 2015 for Exercise Amani Africa.

Masondo also paid a visit to UPDF Chief of Defence Forces General David Muhoozi, who was appointed to the position in January this year. He was formerly UPDF Commander of Land Forces.

UPDF spokesperson Brigadier Richard Karemire said the meeting took place at the Ministry of Defence and Veterans Affairs headquarters and that Muhoozi and Masondo pledged to increase defence cooperation in line with the memorandum of understanding signed in 2012.

Masondo on Wednesday visited the Oliver Tambo Leadership School in Kaweweta where some 3 000 Umkhonto we Sizwe fighters trained during the anti-apartheid struggle. The School was visited by President Jacob Zuma in 2010, who together with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni laid wreaths on the graves of 14 freedom fighters who died in Uganda of natural causes.

Masondo on Wednesday took a tour of the School and laid a wreath on the graves of Umkhonto we Sizwe fighters.
“We thank the Government of Uganda for enormous and numerous contributions towards reinstating peace and stability in the region and promise to work hard in the pursuance of strengthening bilateral Defence Relations with Uganda,” Masondo said.

In February 2013 Masondo, then Chief of the SA Army, hosted General Nyakairima Aronda, Chief of the UPDF, at the SA Army Headquarters. Aronda also visited SANDF Chief General Solly Shoke.