SANDF hosting military skills competition


The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is currently hosting its Military Skills Competition in Potchefstroom, with several international countries participating.

The opening parade was held at 4 Artillery Regiment, Potchefstroom on 21 October. The main functionary was Brigadier General Fezile Mbotyi.

International countries participating in the competition include Angola, Botswana, Cuba, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, eSwantini, Germany, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, United Kingdom, United States of America, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In total, 188 SANDF personnel are taking part, alongside 90 from the United Kingdom, Germany and United States.

The South African Army Armour Formation is hosting this year’s Military Skills Competition at the Regiment Moorivier, Potchefstroom. The event concludes on 26 October.

The competition will see shooting with R4 assault rifles and Z88 9 mm pistols, swimming, grenade throwing, an 8 km combat run and obstacle crossing. R4 and 9 mm pistol shooting will take place at Dirkie Uys Shooting Range on 24 October; swimming will be happening at the Potchefstroom Dam swimming pool on 24 October; grenade throwing will be held at the Kopanelo Land Obstacle Course on 25 October; obstacle crossing will take place at Kopanelo Land Obstacle Course on 25 October; the 8 km combat run will be at the General De Wet Training Area on 26 October; and prize-giving will take place at 4 Artillery Regiment on 26 October.

Explaining the rationale behind the competition, Lieutenant Colonel Uys van der Westhuijzen, who also chairs the International Military Skills Competition Technical Committee, said: “It takes rigorous training, being physically and battle fit and knowing how to use the tools of the trade to be a soldier.”

“This allows commanders to observe and set standards for their soldiers. It also allows many soldiers to work as a team, meet, liaise and cooperate with soldiers from other units, regions, services and countries.”

The Military Skills Competition is run under the auspices of the SANDF’s Reserve Forces Council, which is part of the Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers (CIOR), which represents more than 1.5-million reservists in over 37 countries.

“This year we are particularly privileged to host the President and Secretary General of the CIOR as observers in addition to the Deputy Chief of the Field Forces of the UK,” said Van der Westhuijzen.

Every year the RFC chooses a South African team to participate in the annual international military skills competition against the other 36 member nations – allowing the SANDF to measure the standards of its reserve forces members against the best in the world, something that South Africa has always done very well in.