South Africa: It was all systems go at the SA Army College as the Junior Command and Staff Course (JCSC) students had their first date with the Commandant during a welcoming ceremony held at the packed Thaba-Tshwane Town Hall last Thursday.
The Commandant of the SA Army College, Colonel Bhekisile Mathonsi, gave a rousing welcome to 317 diverse and strong group of Junior Command and Staff Course class of 2023 at the Thaba-Tshwane Town Hall recently.
The course is ordinarily packaged to train senior officers on the rank level of major in the theory of command and management of landward forces at a tactical level during peace and war times.
The Class of 2023 is a demographically diverse group that also includes six international fellows from Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Tanzania, Pakistan and India. There are also two officers living with disabilities amongst this cohort of senior officers.
Speaking to students gathered at the packed Thaba-Tshwane Hall, Colonel Mathonsi urged learners to take the opportunity they are provided with to learn and become capable senior officers who would be utilized at various levels and add value to the South African National Defence Force.
The Commandant emphasized to the students that they should relish the golden opportunity provided by the college to learn and grow as senior officers. She urged students to take what they do seriously and show a high level of commitment and discipline for them to be in a position to successfully complete the programme.
Colonel Mathonsi pledged that the SA Army College would do all within its powers and abilities to provide the necessary guidelines and support for all learners to meet the required standard of competence needed to successfully complete the programme.
She is supported in this regard by Chief Instructor, Colonel Jan Potgieter, Course Leader, Lieutenant Colonel Job Mpete, the Directing Staff and Regimental Sergeant Major, Master Warrant Officer Thobejane Phetla.
The Commandant encouraged good neighbourliness and conduct amongst students, warning them against meddling in unit politics, using vulgar language and disrespecting her Directing Staff and one another.
“You are also reminded to never disregard the channel of commands whilst here at the College.”
The Commandant advised students to also apply their minds when electing the course committee that will act as the link between College management and the students.
“I urge you to choose your committee carefully because they will be people who will ensure that the course yields greater results. Choose your committee wisely and consider diversity and people’s strengths when appointing them to positions,” Colonel Mathonsi said.
Colonel Mathonsi also took an opportunity to caution students against anti-social behaviour like racism and tribalism.
“The SA Army College will not tolerate racism, tribalism and any form of squabbles amongst students. There is no place for that here,” the Commandant warned the Class of 2023.
“You are senior officers, and we expect you to know exactly which behaviour is unacceptable,” she warned that those who transgress the norms of good military behaviour will not go unpunished.
Colonel Mathonsi told the group of senior students gathered at the hall to appreciate each other, learn from one another and most importantly, support one another as they embark on a year-long journey that would require extensive resilience and patience.
She also extended a warm hand of welcome to the international fellows who are forming part of this year’s programme, stating that their presence helps enhance good relations between South Africa and their countries.
As a parting shot, Colonel Mathonsi wished the students well and assured them of her unwavering support during the course of the year to create an enabling environment for learning and growth.
With Pretoria recently experiencing searing heat, the Commandant further advised students to take care of themselves and drink lots of water as they go about their daily business of learning the theory of command and management of landward forces.
The SA Army College is the SA Army’s senior training institution tasked with qualifying selected senior military practitioners of the country’s landward forces and those of friendly armed forces in the theory of command and management of forces – during peace and war times – with the focus on the landward defence capabilities at a tactical level of war.