The 2021 Class for the Junior Command and Staff Duties Course started work in earnest today (Monday, 25 January) after Friday’s official course opening by CArmy, Lieutenant General Lawrence Mbatha.
In his opening remarks, reported by Army communications officer Lieutenant Colonel CM Baloyi, Mbatha said the officers on course – the most senior in the landward force – should at all times use the opportunity given them wisely and never forget to observe all protocols related to containing the spread of COVID-19.
Reflecting back on visits to all SA Army units last year, Mbatha pointed out the junior command course formed part of that insofar as restoring the dignity of the SA Army to “its rightful glory” was concerned.
He told the junior officers who will spend the majority of this year at the SA College in Thaba Tshwane that their course has everything to do with taking the Army forward with loyal and disciplined officers who are motivated and inspire confidence. “The only way to achieve this is to arm yourselves with knowledge because as the saying goes ‘knowledge is power’”.
He pointed out those on course have an opportunity “to take the knowledge they will gain and utilise it to improve productiveness and efficiency. Add to this a sense of duty and loyalty beyond reproach; this will happen when they know they have the selfless duty they owe to the SA Army, their country and as serving members of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF)”.
Referring to last year’s Exercise Ukuthula at the Combat Training Centre (CTC) in Northern Cape, Mbatha said all professional military education (PME) standards used were reinforced with specific emphasis on three.
“The SA Army is under pressure on force preparation, formations and brigades’ headquarters to be ready to provide a composite brigade for Exercise Ukuthula 2021. All officers on the Junior Command and Staff Duties Course 2021 will form part of the exercise.”
On the COVID-19 pandemic, the three-star general told the official opening of the 2021 course, it has taught the military to think differently when confronted with challenges. “Society started embracing technology and the military must start thinking outside the box”.
His advice to the Army College Commandant included course attendees should do as much work as possible in their rooms and if they have to be in syndicates these should be no larger than 10. An additional COVID-19 preventive measure announced by Mbatha is moving the development course for warrant officers from its present Pretoria location to the Army Gymnasium at Heidelberg.