What the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) terms “part of rejuvenating its capabilities” is on display at SAS Saldanha today where 491 military skills development (MSD) SA Navy volunteers end their basic training with a passing out parade.
Deputy Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thabang Makwetla was scheduled to take the salute.
Apart from basic military skills such as musketry, seamanship, basic computer skills and environmental awareness, the latest batch of successful MSDs also did their bit for community service. This is in line with Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s efforts to take the country’s military to its communities. Last month she personally led this effort at Mdantsane outside East London.
“The taking the SANDF to communities campaign is in line with the department’s long term objective to bring defence closer to the people and normalise relations between the SANDF of the democratic era and the South African people.
“The campaign will, in part, demonstrate the DoD’s resolve to make a clear shift from the past and reset relations with communities as well as contributing to social cohesion and reconciliation as part of nation building,” Ministerial spokesman Sonwabo Mbananga said.
The MSD volunteers demonstrated their commitment to communities by presenting a gun run and precision drill demonstration at the Vredenburg sports fields; planted a vegetable garden and did building maintenance at local old age homes, disability and child care centres as well as a clean-up project at the Diazville civic centre near SAS Saldanha.
The Deputy Minister also rewarded nine of the class of 2013 with awards for best mess deck (Seaman MR Matthei); best esprit de corps (Seaman R Oliver); best seamanship learner (Seaman FF Petersen); neatest sailor (Seaman MT Motileng); fittest female on course (Seaman JT Khalo); fittest male on course (Seaman MP Gumede); best academic sailor (Seaman K Naidoo); Admiral Mudimu Trophy for Leadership (Seaman S Masana) and best sports division (accepted by Seaman PL Zietsman on behalf of Spioenkop division).
Petty Officer A Sengo’s input during the basic military training phase earned him the best overall instructor award.
The successful candidates will now move into various divisions and sections of the Navy where further training in specific disciplines will improve their career options, either with the navy or in the private sector, once the two year voluntary MSD stint is completed.