The official word on name changes for SA Army Reserve Force units at present isn’t.
An announcement was expected from Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula last month according to Brigadier General Gerhard Kamffer. He was speaking at a CArmy media function in September last year at which Department of Defence head of communications (HOD) Siphiwe Dlamini was present.
Dlamini this week told defenceWeb “it was all quiet” when asked if the Minister was ever going to say anything about name changes for at least 40 of the 66 SA Army Reserve Force units.
Official SA National Defence Force (SANDF) sources remain tight-lipped about name changes but it is believed units including the SA Irish, Cape Town Highlanders and Transvaal Scottish are obvious targets when it comes to “removing manifestations of colonialism” a no longer serving Reserve Force officer told defenceWeb. There is a feeling among serving Reserve Force officers this publication spoke to that there is nothing to do but acknowledge the name changes with the proviso regiment histories are not “fiddled with”.
Another officer, who serves in a Mpumalanga Reserve Force regiment, said feedback on proposed name changes for the unit were a long way behind more call-ups.
“Call-ups are the only income a fair number of our members have and my feeling is they don’t care much about any new name for the regiment – they want to be called up more often,” he said on condition of anonymity.
A regular defenceWeb commentator maintains it would be best if units such as the Cape Town Highlanders, Transvaal Scottish, SA Irish and others with “obvious” colonial connotations are closed and new units opened.
Another said:” If the names of all the so-called traditional units are going to be changed, close them down and lay up their Colours. I don’t like this proposal but it’s probably the best of many bad options for all concerned. Start new units in line with political thinking – unfortunately – and let them build their own traditions”.