Parts of the South African military machine will be on display during Saturday’s national Freedom Day celebrations at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
President Jacob Zuma will attend and will be honoured by a 21 gun salute compliments of a South African Artillery Formation G1 gun crew, as well as a salute flypast by three Hawk Mk 120 Lead-In Fighter Trainers from 85 Combat Flying School at Air Force Base Makhado.
The guard of honour for the day will be provided by the National Ceremonial Guard while the SA Air Force’s Silver Falcons aerobatic display team will perform a six ship flypast.
An SA National Defence Force (SANDF) mass band, comprising musicians from the Ceremonial Guard, Air Force and SA Military Health Service bands, will provide entertainment for the thousands expected to attend, and will provide martial music for the parade.
The small number of aircraft taking part is another indication of the tight budgets all four arms of the SA National Defence Force are having to make do with.
In contrast to Saturday’s event, the annual SAAF Day parade held this year on February 1 at AFB Waterkloof featured Oryx helicopters, Cessna 208 Caravan light transports, a C-130BZ Hercules, the Rooivalk combat support helicopter as well as Hawk and Gripen jets. In the absence of Air Force Chief, Lieutenant General Zakes Msimang, the salute was taken by his deputy, Major General Jerry Malinga.