New additions to the upper command levels in the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) see the landward force getting a new deputy chief and a new deputy Surgeon General while various other senior promotions have been revealed.
According to a Department of Defence Bulletin, Brigadier General Lawrence Smith has substantively been promoted to the rank of major general as SA Army Deputy Chief. He takes over as number two of the largest component of the SANDF from Major General Les Rudman, who retired at the end of last year.
An Army source said a change of command parade would be held in the not too distant future to welcome Lieutenant General Vusi Masondo’s new second in command and say a “fitting military farewell” to Rudman. No date has yet been set.
Smith has been in uniform for 37 years after completing National Service in 1976. His operational experience includes tours on the then South West Africa border as well as commanding Sector 5 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2003 and 2004.
He has also been the designated SADC Standby Force Military Component Commander and was in charge of it during Exercise Golfinho in 2009. He was also Head of the African Union Standby Force during its final Combat Readiness Exercise (Amani Africa) in November 2010. More recently he was involved in the preparation of the ACIRC (African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises) Force within the SANDF as well as at African Union level as the Deputy Exercise Director of Exercise Utulivu Africa 2014.
Prior to being named SA Army second in command, Smith was General Officer Commanding 43 SA Brigade headquarters.
The previous Officer Commanding the SA Air Force VVIP Unit at AFB Waterkloof, Brigadier General Mbulelo Mcetywa, has been promoted to major general and will be Chief Director: Policy and Planning at SA Air Force headquarters.
Other promotions announced in the Bulletin by SANDF Chief, General Solly Shoke, are Major General NS Sigudu as Chief Director: Processing; Brigadier General R Moroane to major general and Chief Director: Collection (both at Defence Intelligence); Brigadier General Jabu Mbuli to Major General and Chief Director: Acquisition Materiel; Major General AL de Wit to General Officer Commanding, Training Command; Brigadier General M Sitshongaye to Major General and Chief Director: Strategic Direction, Policy and Planning and Brigadier General F Meyer to Major General and Deputy Surgeon General.