South Africa: The Chief of the South African Army, Lieutenant General Lawrence Khulekani Mbatha, hosted chiefs and representatives of different landward forces at the South African Army Combat Training Centre Lohatlha in the Northern Cape on 20 November 2023.
The dignitaries from different countries landed at Sishen Airport after a short flight from Air Force Waterkloof in Pretoria. After the touchdown, they were welcomed by the General Officer Commanding the South African Army Support Formation, Major General Thituwi Mulaudzi.
They escorted them into the venue at Lohatlha, where the National Ceremonial Guard’s Entertainment Band serenaded them with live musical performances.
Present at the welcoming function for the member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and leading the programme was Acting Deputy Chief Army Major General R.E. Mecuur, who introduced the dignitaries to each other and informed the guests of upcoming activities.
Chief South African Army welcomed guests from various countries: Algeria, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Kenya, Botswana, Nigeria, Namibia, Ghana, Lesotho, Tanzania, Botswana and Angola. He said he was grateful that the guests had honoured the invite.
Lieutenant General Mbathapresented the South African Army’s mandate and emphasized the landward force’s commitment to the SADC region and the African continent. He also noted their many similarities and urged the guest to use the opportunity to share ideas and experiences to strengthen military cooperation.
As he welcomed the guests to the “land of diesel and dust,” he mentioned that the South African Army Combat Training Centre was not only for conducting exercises but also for mobilising troops and Prime Mission Equipment so as to project forces. This he said as he pointed out that the South African Army is on standby for internal deployments in support of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and externally, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mozambique (Southern African Development Community Mission in Mozambique – SAMIM).
The attendees shared in the various meal courses between announcements as they were entertained with various African songs, eventually bringing the evening to a close.