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Article by Cpl Tebogo Kekana, Ad astra magazine, photos courtesy of 5ASU

“Your success will be determined by how well you can overcome hardship”, that was the Forbes quote, that tied in seamlessly with the Chief of the South African Air Force (SAAF), Lt Gen Zimpande Msimang’s message at the Air Force Prestige Day Parade at Air Force Base (AFB) Waterkloof on 3 February 2017.

Lt Gen Zimpande Msimang addressing the parade

He opened the parade by assuring everyone of the readiness and commitment of the SAAF towards national security and defence of the country. He further paid tribute to the men and women in uniform who are in deployment areas and in the home front, serving the citizens of this country and safeguarding national interests

On the role of SAAF, Gen Msimang quoted the President of the Republic and Commander-in-Chief of the South African National Defence Force, President Jacob Zuma during the 2014 State of the Nation Address when he said, “South Africa will continue to support regional and continental processes to respond to and resolve crises, promote peace and security, strengthen regional integration, significantly increase intra-African trade and champion sustainable development in Africa. This role will continue and government is looking into the resourcing of the SANDF mandate in line with the recently concluded Defence Review.”

On the SAAF’s operational obligations and other activities, he said, “We were visible at the Opening of Parliament, Armed Forces Day in Port Elizabeth, Air Power Demonstration in Roodewal, support to the South African Navy in the anti-piracy efforts to internal operations and other government departments. The SAAF will be participating in the SADC interoperability air power exercise called Exercise Blue Kunene which will be hosted in Namibia in the next coming months.”

CAF further made a clarion call for the members to go ‘Back To Basics’, emphasizing on combat readiness and the soft issues of ethics, resilience and wholeness. He committed to that in the next few days, he will sign off the SAAF Ethics Instruction, “This will put the Air Force ahead of all Services and Divisions when it comes to the implementation of Ethics Management in the DOD.

He extended his sincere gratitude and appreciation to the defence industry and said he trusts that they will enhance the SAAF’s efficiency levels by transforming business relations with competitive pricing and exceptional turnaround time. On training and education, he thanked his counterparts across the globe for having offered opportunities to the SAAF members who are currently undergoing training in their institutions. “The SAAF has committed to the Military Academy that we will, from next year, send 60 cadets to the Military Academy each year, to pursue their first degree. It is the intent of the Air Force Command Council to strive towards increasing the number of female candidates in all functional and developmental courses.”

Lt Gen Zimpande Msimang handing over the Prestige Unit Trophy to Col Padi Khoase Officer Commanding AFB Bloemspruit

With regard to the SAAF Prestige Awards, the Chief beamed when he applauded those who excelled while serving. Air Force Base Bloemspruit scooped the Prestige Unit of the Air Force 2016 cycle. Speaking to Col Pali Khoase, Officer Commanding Bloemspruit, he mentioned that, “It is all a team effort, we do more with less and we go above and beyond the call of duty. We credit this fighting spirit that we have to the rigorous training that we have as a collective.”


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