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SANDF PARTICIPATION AT THE 2012 FREEDOM DAY CELEBRATION

30 April 2012
By Kgabo Mashamaite
Photos by Mr Frans Setlau 

Millions of South Africans witnessed the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) took the stage during the National Freedom Day celebrations parade on 27 April 2012 at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.  

The SANDF marched onto the stage to provide the guard of honour for the State President Mr Jacob Zuma, performed the National Anthem and the fired a 21 round gun salute. Two Oryx helicopters performed the fly –past with two flags, the National Flag and the SANDF flag.

The ceremony was followed by an array of melodies by a mass band consisting of the National Ceremonial Guard Band, the South African Air Force Band and the South African Military Health Band Service under the baton of Maj Gerald Seekola.

The proceedings were capped by a breathtaking air display in which a Turbo Dakota from 35 Squadron at the AFB Ysterplaat led a  formation of Silver Falcons Team from AFB Langebaan. The onlookers were stunned by the supersonic speed of five Hawk lead-in fighter jets in formation, followed by a solo run of a Gripen Fighter jet from the AFB Makhado.

During his address, President Jacob Zuma said that the event was significant to all South Africans as this occasion helps us recall and celebrate a heroic and selfless struggle that was fought over more than three centuries.

“On the 27th of April we celebrate how our people brought to a close phase one of our struggle when we buried colonial oppression, racism, apartheid and hatred as we cast our votes together for the first time in 1994. It has been short but a meaningful road from a pariah state to a peaceful, stable, vibrant, non-racial, non-sexist democratic country that is working to achieve prosperity for all,” said the SANDF Commander-in-Chief.

The event was aimed at celebrating 18 years of independence as well as the anniversary of the formation of the SANDF, which included the former South African Defence Force, the home-land defence forces as well as liberations forces such as uMkhonto we Sizwe and the Azanian People’s Liberation Army.

President Jacob Zuma on the Freedom Day celebrations on 27 April 2012 at the Union Buildings, Pretoria.

Fltr: Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Ms Lindiwe Sisulu, Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Mr Thabang Makwetla, Secretary for Defence Dr Sam Gulube and the Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi were among the dignitaries entertained by the SANDF during the Freedom Day celebrations on 27 April 2012 at the Union Buildings, Pretoria.

President Jacob Zuma stand to attention during the singing of the National Anthem during the Freedom Day celebrations on 27 April 2012 at the Union Buildings, Pretoria.

A breathtaking air display led by the SAAF Turbo Dakota from 35 Squadron at the AFB Ysterplaat in the formation with the Silver Falcon Team during the Freedom Day celebrations on 27 April 2012 in the Union Buildings, Pretoria.

CAF Lt Gen Carlo Gagiano also came to witness the SANDF participation at the Freedom Day celebrations on 27 April 2012 at the Union Buildings, Pretoria.

Two SAAF Oryx helicopters perform the fly-past during the singing of the National Anthem at the Freedom Day celebrations held at the Union Buildings, Pretoria.

A breathtaking air display led by a SAAF Turbo Dakota from 35 Squadron at the AFB Ysterplaat in formation with the Silver Falcon Team during the Freedom Day celebrations on 27 April 2012 at the Union Buildings, Pretoria. Fltr: C SA Army, Lt Gen Vusi Masondo and CSANDF, Gen Solly Shoke came to witness the SANDF participation in the Freedom Day celebrations at the Union Buildings, Pretoria on 27 April 2012. C HR Lt Gen Themba Nkabinde and the C SA Navy V Adm Johannes Mudimu were among the top SANDF management invited to the Freedom Day celebrations on 27 April 2012 at the Union Buildings, Pretoria.