South Africa: Brave men and women in the military should always be honoured for their sacrifices because they willingly risk their lives to protect the people’s freedom. This is a selfless act of valour, asking for nothing in return.
Lieutenant General Wiseman Mbambo gave a speech at the Heartfelt Arena in Thaba Tshwane on 26 January 2023 and said, “We gather here today to celebrate an organisation that has run its course for the past 103 years. In this journey, the SA Air Force has encountered formidable challenges but also has matured and continues to grow in great leaps. When we say we celebrate the organisation, we are actually saying we are celebrating our people – the South African Air Force members and their families without whom there can be no Air Force to talk about.”
In his inspirational speech, he appreciated all the members of the armed forces saying that it takes a great amount of courage and sacrifice to do what soldiers do. ”The SA Air Force is an integral part of a country and a nation that has evolved over time of history which informs who we are as expressed in our rich diversity. Our Constitution, the national flag and our national anthem constantly remind us of where we come from as a people. As we enjoy our freedom as a nation, serving in a transformed Department of Defence (DoD) and its various Divisions, the memories of those who have paid a supreme price and laid down their lives for the freedom we enjoy today shall be forever tattooed in our minds. As we continue to celebrate the SA Air Force 103 anniversary, we are mindful that we are missing certain members in our Gala Evening roll call tonight.
Many of these great men and women had families of their own that they had to leave behind as they went to go to defend their country. As we continue to enjoy these freedoms and associated rights and privileges, we must always take responsibility for our actions. This is the least we can do to give homage to those who paid the supreme price for our freedom.”
The SA Air Force leadership took a decision that in 2023 we shall recognise the efforts of our members as it has been our tradition over the years. We congratulate once more all the Bases and Units that have been winners in the different categories. It is true that to command is to serve, nothing more, nothing less. May we always remember that those who dare win, those who sweat win and those who plan also win?
On honouring the members for their unselfish deeds, the Chief of the Air Force said, “We declared in 2022 through our vision “Projecting Effective Air and Space Power through Innovation in the theatre of our operations” that we are prepared to embark on a mindset change in the SA Air Force by discarding the old approaches of doing business and embrace new approaches. We cannot afford to approach our future with a one-dimensional viewpoint, but it is undeniable that we must always be ready to read and interpret unexpected paradigm shifts correctly. Technology Innovation requires a smart, daring mind that is not intimidated by venturing into unknown paths to discover new things. The theme of our gala evening tonight is that of embracing new technology innovation and celebrating our people, as demonstrated by what you have experienced this evening.”
Fortune truly favours the brave, as General Mbambo shared the future of the SA Air Force, mentioning that it lies in taking giant steps in ensuring that it stays abreast with modern technology and keeping pace with the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR).
In this regard, we must continue to invest in our young people to enhance their technology skills as far as possible. Therefore plans to send our young SA Air Force members to our local technology institutions as well as overseas for further skills training shall continue. In the same vein, as we embrace modern technology, we are also mindful of the ethical challenge dimensions that are linked to technology. In this regard, I subscribe fully with the hazard cautioned by Mr Klaus Schwab, the founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, who penned the following in 2015: “Neither technology nor the disruption that comes with it is an exogenous force over which humans have no control over. All of us are responsible for guiding its evolution in the decisions we make on a daily basis as citizens, consumers, and investors. We should thus grasp the opportunity and power we have to shape the Fourth Industrial Revolution and direct it toward a future that reflects our common objectives and values.”
He proudly said that where there are no guts, there really can never be any glory and announced the recent changes in the SA Air Force Leadership.
• Deputy Chief Air Force, Major General Buthelezi, is moving laterally to Joint Operations Division as Deputy Chief Joint Operations. Brigadier General Matanda is promoted to Major General and becomes the new Deputy Chief of the Air Force.
• Chief Director of Air Policy & Plans, Major General Songqushwa, is retiring at the end of February and Major General Elma de Villiers is returning to the SA Air Force to take over as the new Chief Director of Air Police & Plans.
• Chief Director of Force Development & Support, Major General Malakoane, is laterally transferred to Logistics Division as the next Deputy Chief Logistic Division. Simultaneously Brigadier General Sehlare is promoted to a Major General and will take over as Chief Director of Force Development & Support.
• Brigadier General Mathebula is promoted to a Major General and will take over as the new Chief Director of Force Preparations after the retirement of Major General Kobus Butler.
• Brigadier General Kweta is promoted to a Major General and becomes the Ministry of Defence Chief Director of Corporate Communications.
He touched on the successfully executed Africa Aerospace and Defence and opined that “It broke the long silence that was inadvertently brought by the COVID-19 epidemic.
Despite all the challenges stacked against the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) 2022, the account from diverse observers and opinion makers across the various media houses, it was unanimously concluded that the event was an all-around success. The noise of the Gripen in our skies was welcomed with jubilation by all South Africans, and we will continue without rest to ensure that this capability continues to remain in the air.
The coordination and commitment from all relevant stakeholders and partners, including support from the general public, have contributed to a successful Africa Aerospace and Defence 2022. The country can continue to build up from this international event to showcase the country’s readiness and capability to host other major international events in the future.
The mission to Free the Eagle from the shackles of the past will be tedious but rewarding, with some results visible in our time of service, but the majority of them shall outlive our period of active service in the South African National Defence Force.”