President Jacob Zuma will on Sunday preside over the Armed Forces Day celebration in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape.
In 2012, President Zuma, in his capacity as the Commander-in-Chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), proclaimed that 21 February each year will be observed and commemorated as Armed Forces Day, said the Presidency on Friday.
“Armed Forces Day is to be a day on which the South African population honours the men and women of the South African National Defence Force by affirming their support and gratitude to them for upholding the Constitution of the Republic and defending the territorial integrity of the Republic and protecting its people.
“It is for this reason that Armed Forces Day coincides with the commemoration of the sinking of the SS Mendi on 21 February 1917,” explained President Zuma.
Since the proclamation, Armed Forces Day has been celebrated in the three provinces, namely Gauteng, Free State and the North West.
The day aims to educate and create awareness about the SANDF and its role, function and capabilities.
During the celebrations President Zuma will take the salute from the SANDF during the military parade.
He will also hand out medals to the deserving members and take a salute.
The march past will consist of about 1000 SANDF members and over 100 vehicles and aircraft that will participate in the march and fly past.
This will be followed by a capability demonstration by all four of the SANDF services which involved live demonstration of anti-piracy operations, beach landing by the South African Army, the release of hostages by SA Special Forces and the extraction of injured personnel by the South Air Force and the South African Military Health Services.
The day will be preceded by a handing over of legacy projects tomorrow.
The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula and the Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini will hand over three old age homes that have been repaired and refurbished by the SANDF’s Works Regiment. – SAnews.gov.za