SANDF to be out in force at Rand Show

17552

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has pledged to take Rand Show revellers by storm this year, with comprehensive static displays, but there will be no capability demonstration this Easter.

Acting Director Defence Corporate Communication, Colonel Selinah Rawlins, said the SANDF will be at the Johannesburg Expo Centre in Nasrec from 28 March to 1 April in the defence force’s twentieth appearance at one of the country’s premier lifestyle, cultural and commercial exhibitions.

“The military’s participation at this year’s show expands its public relations and communication blueprint where the community, especially young people will be engaged on programmes of the defence force and the constitutional mandate it is enjoined to execute,” Rawlins stated.

The SANDF’s participation in this year’s Rand Show (previously known as the Rand Easter Show) will see a wide range of activities including SANDF bands performances, exhibitions by the Artillery, Armour, Infantry, Engineers, Signal, Intelligence and Support formations, and live performances by a military court with “accused appearing in that court.”

All four arms of service (SA Air Force, SA Army, SA Navy and SA Military Health Service) will have equipment on display. For the SA Army, this will include three Hornet vehicles and two boats, small arms, climbing equipment, parachutes, radios, survival equipment etc.

The Air Force will have a single Rooivalk attack helicopter on display, along with an unspecified Museum aircraft (most likely an Alouette helicopter), an Umlindi radar, fire truck, Impala simulator, and ARGOS surveillance system.

For its part, the Navy will have a diving display, seamanship display, boarding boat, mine warfare display and an array of naval weaponry on hand.

At its height, the SANDF put on capability demonstrations involving Oryx, Rooivalk and A109 helicopters as well as Gripen combat jets, amongst others. However, most likely due to budget cuts and many other commitments, the military’s presence will be scaled back again this year – there was also no capability demonstration for the 2023 edition of the event either. Some 80 000 people visited exhibition stalls during last year’s Rand Show.

Other highlights for showgoers this year include a music festival over the four-day Easter weekend with artists like Jesse Clegg, a large indoor market, shopping hall, helicopter flips, bungee trampoline, kids fun zone, dinosaur expo, theme park rides, and car spinning and drifting.