SANDF Education Trust receives funding
By Sgt Itumeleng Makhubela
The SANDF Educational Trust continues to grow in leaps and bounds as prospective donors were given an opportunity to make pledges towards the trust at a gala dinner hosted by the Chief of the SANDF, Gen Solly Shoke at the Swartkop Wes Combined Club.
The trust was established in October 2013 by Chief with the intention of providing financial assistance by means of bursaries for educational purposes to the dependants of deceased SANDF members who were killed whilst on duty.
The trust also gained its momentum and prominence after the SANDF suffered 15 casualties whilst in operation at Central African Republic (CAR) in 2013. The Leadership of the SANDF realised the need to set up the trust as dependants of the fallen soldiers were faced with a predicament of taking their responsibilities.
During the first 18 months of the existence of the trust, the trustees have managed to collect donations to the value of R5,050,000. For the 2014 and 2015 academic years the trustees have awarded 91 bursaries to the value of R1,200,000.
Gen Solly Shoke spoke at length when he explained that most of soldiers that died in what is termed The Battle of Bangui were young left children that still needed to be looked after. He said that the need to establish a fund was imminent as soldier often times undergo volatile and dangerous missions.
He said: “Sometimes you undertake missions on behalf of the country not knowing that you will come back alive, and the Central African Republic incident was a prime example of how things can turn out in operations.”
He continued: “As much as we welcome you here on behalf of the men and women in uniform, I would like to appeal to you that we are here for a noble cause and make a plea that you open your hearts. Whatever you contribute will be highly appreciated as it benefits men and women who serve you.”
Patron of the SANDF Education Trust, Dr Irvin Khoza mentioned that when he was asked to be the patron of the trust, he did not understand members serving in the SANDF and the extent of the challenge.
He said: “What is not public is not useful as most of us do not understand what these men and women do for us in this country and what the defence force stands for. After watching the video, I understand why it is important for all of us to make a contribution to the trust.” The trust received R 7,770,500 thus far.
Dr Khoza said the SANDF is an institution that embodies a value which must be celebrated which a sacrifice. He said people should celebrate acts of those who have departed as they lived a life that could never be interred but only their remains.
The Mayor of Johannesburg, Councillor Parks Tau subsequently donated a cheque to Gen shoke during a breakfast function organised at the Mayor’s Palour Civiv Centre in Johannesburg. The city host the annual Charity Gold day to raise funds that supports various activities. He said that funds raised at last year’s golf day will support the SANDF Education Trust.