South Africa: Chief Army Communication Period at Phalaborwa was Perfectly Invigorating for Members of the 7 South African Infantry Battalion, 524 Squadron and 5 Special Forces.
On Wednesday, 2 August 2023, the Chief of the South African Landward Force, Lieutenant General Lawrence Khulekani Mbatha, held a communication period at 7 South African Infantry Battalion, which is conveniently located in Phalaborwa, Limpopo Province, a town which has over the years been known for being the mining centre of Iron and Copper Ore.
Chief Army communication session in this area which saw members from 7 SA Infantry Battalion, 524 Squadron and 5 Special Force units coming in droves, following a series of other communication periods by the Commander of the South African Landward Forces Lieutenant General Lawrence Khulekani Mbatha and his formidable team as they continue to engineer a revival in various SA Army units.
The first communication period of the 2023 calendar year was held earlier this year at the iconic Sergeant Mudau Hall, which is nestled in the South African Army Headquarters, and this was followed closely by yet another inspiring and informative session which was held at the SA Army Support Formation, SA Army Signal Formation, School of Armour and at SA Army Support Base Polokwane respectively.
To the members of various units who came in droves at 7 SA Infantry’s main hall, the communication period was perfectly invigorating, as it yielded positive results, let alone offer a glimmer of hope through depths interventions by the Commander of the South African Landward Force and other Senior Officers from the highest office of the South African Army.
Through a series of communication periods that the Chief of the South African Army has held over the past three years in the length and breadth of the country wherein he visited all the SA Army units, new and different ideas were generated, which resulted in the SA Army Units, Brigades, Formations and Directorates being revived like a watered flower. This was also hailed as a trailblazing step in the right direction as drastic improvements were made.
Lessons were also drawn from these communication periods which made the SA Army stand out to be counted among the best, and this confounded the doubting Thomases. It is also of prime importance to mention that during the 2022/2023 fiscal year, the SA Army members knuckled down to serious business, notching one success after the other.
Chief among them was the successful execution of Exercise VUKUHLOME, wherein the SA Army cemented its reputation as an indomitable force in the African Military Landscape. The Exercise has pole positioned the SA Army for its various roles in the country, the continent, let alone in the global arena.
Furthermore, another milestone which served as a necessary and vivid reminder that the SA Army is the Army that cares for its citizens was the successful refurbishment and renovation of Seochoareng Elderly Home and Oom Soldaat van Wyk, a centenarian and military veteran’s house in Kimberley, in the Northern Cape. For the senior citizens of Seochoareng and Oom Soldaat van Wyk, it was immensely freeing to see the SA Army restoring their impaired dignity by giving their residences a facelift.
Facing a similar predicament is Ferdinand Primary School which is situated in Weenen, KwaZulu-Natal Province. This area is rife with poverty and the buildings in the school are in a bad state, teetering at the brink of collapse. A robust committee structure was put in place by Lieutenant General Mbatha so that the project could be wrapped up as soon as humanely possible.
In this regard, just like in the Kimberley community outreach projects, the SA Army is once again in top gear in carrying out the Weenen Social Responsibility Project, let alone raising its generosity bar.
During his communication period, Lieutenant General Mbatha explained at length aspects that included inter alia the Theme of the SA Army, the Defence Review of 2015, the Constitutional Mandate of the SA National Defence Force, the Constitutional Mandate of the SA Army, the SA Army Values, Budget, the Chief of the SA Army’s Intent, SA Army Staffing, Mobility Exit Mechanism, aspects pertaining to the SA Army uniform, Community Outreach Projects, Asset Management, Key Areas of Concern for the SA Army, Commercialization, Military Skills Development System (MSDS), Officers Selection, Dedication Service, Armed Forces Day, Planned Activities for the 2023 calendar year, SA Army Book Launch and the SA Army’s members’ sporting prowess, an achievement which is worthy of emulation.
Another bright feather in the SA Army’s cap was the SA Army Choirs which took choral music to a completely new trajectory as they have also scooped numerous accolades in various choral competitions.
The Chief of the SA Army also cautioned the members to avoid ugly scenes of Gender Based Violence (GBV) and that they must ensure that it doesn’t find a breeding ground in the SA Army. After addressing the members who have packed the Hall at 7 SA Infantry Battalion to its rafters, the members were given a platform to ask questions.
He urged them not to shy away from voicing discontent, thereafter the matters that were raised were dealt with in a most considerate and tactful way by the Chief of the SA Army and a formidable team from the SA Army’s highest office.
He also emphasised the importance of collectivism and added that communication is key. Furthermore, he said “The SA Army members must depend on each other and respect each other, negativity is not a solution to problems”.
The number one citizen of the South African Army said: “If we work together as a collective, we can move mountains, if we work against each other, even the smallest task can become a mountain.
The communication period was preceded by a performance from a musical ensemble which set the stage ablaze with Mochongolo and Xibelane dances that left the audience agape with admiration.