SANDF mourns passing of former Surgeon General Zola Dabula


Former Surgeon General of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), Lieutenant General (ret) Zola Dabula, has passed away at the age of 66.

The SANDF in a statement said Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thandi Modise was shocked and saddened at his passing at his home on Sunday 4 June and sent her condolences to the bereaved family.

Dabula had just been discharged from hospital in Pretoria when he passed away.

On behalf of the SANDF, the Surgeon General, Lieutenant General Dr Ntshavheni Peter Maphaha expressed his condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Dabula, as well as all stakeholders of the South African Military Health Service (SAMHS).

“The death of Lieutenant General (Retired) Dabula has robbed the medical fraternity of a military Doctor who possessed a wealth of medical knowledge and played an important role in the development of military health service,” the SANDF said.

Dabula was born on 20 October 1956 in the Eastern Cape, where he completed his primary and secondary education. In 1976, he started his medical degree (MBChB) at the University of Natal, which he completed in 1982. During his student days he worked as an underground operative of uMkhonto we Sizwe, the military wing of the African National Congress into which he was recruited in 1974.

Dabula was appointed as the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of 1 Military Hospital on 1 September 2005. In November 2011, he was appointed as the GOC of Tertiary Military Health Formation. In February 2013, he was promoted to the rank of Major General and became the Chief Director Military Health Force Preparation. He also served as the Strategic Commander of the Presidential Medical Unit (PMU) of the Republic of South Africa.

In November 2019, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General and became the Surgeon General of the SANDF, the post he occupied until he retired on 29 October 2021.

Dabula is survived by his wife Linda Dabula and his four children.

The SANDF will hold a memorial service for the former Surgeon General on 8 June.