The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Visits the SANDF Elements Deployed under Operation Corona in the Mpumalanga Province.

By Witney Rasaka
Photos by Witney Rasaka

Minister Mapisa-Nqakula recently visited the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) elements deployed as mandated by Government to protect and defend the Territorial Integrity of the country. The purpose being to combat cross-border criminal activities with the support and cooperation of neighbouring Governments as well as to intensify and build good relations between the Mbuzini community residents with the SANDF soldiers. The visit, was as well to establish and maintain good relations between dwellers with the individuals that attempt on regular interval cross the border into or out of South Africa.

This visit started at the Macamia Army Base in the province of Mpumalanga with a formal briefing to the minister and media interviews. Subsection 8, a Base where the deployed soldiers are stationed was the next stop for the minister. She inspected the facilities and the conditions in which the SANDF members reside and employ their daily obligations and duties. The minister was able to converse with the soldiers for a long spell of time. She posed her own questions with the objective of wanting to understand and know the day-to-day dynamical challenges that every soldier undergoes at the spot. 

The visit proceeded with the MOD meeting up with the Mulambo Tribal Council before encountering and addressing the residents of Mbuzini. This was a gesture of respect and appreciation; it showcased a high level of integrity and regard from the minister as well as the spirit of Ubuntu that the SANDF upholds for its people and the country. Furthermore, the meeting was to formally introduce and welcome the MOD to the Mbuzini villagers. The minister’s efforts were to gain first hand insight into the daily defies experienced by the population cross-border crime syndicates and illicit activities in the area. Thereby correspondingly indicate on the pivotal role that the SANDF play/may play in maintaining order, security, and safety and in eradicating illegal activities across the spectrum of the South African borders.

During her public discourse, the minister parted a glimpse of light to the community about the importance of the deployed soldiers on the borders. She emphasized on the spirit of building bridges and noble relationships between the SANDF, community and the neighbouring governments. Her message was well received and welcomed with utmost gratitude. A contact session was opened up as she wanted to know and understand the views, perspectives, challenges and concerns of the community heads and its members. Effectively, she was able to both answer and engage with the villagers on site.