Family treat on the cards for SANDF members in future Rand Shows

By Mr Malose Malema
Photos by Mr Katiso Mabuza

It is said that everything, no matter how good it is, has to come to an end at some point. The night of Friday 06 April 2018 saw the formal ending of the spectacular displays which heralded the participation of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in this year’s Rand Show at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg.

But it was not all gloom and doom as speakers one after another praised members of the SANDF who were either involved with the organisation or participated in the 2018 Rand Show. It was not just a mere thank you as a total of 1 162 certificates of appreciation were handed over to the members of Joint Operations, SA Army, SA Air force, SA Navy, South African Military Health (SAMHS), Human Resource Acquisition, and Defence Reserve Division.

Department of Defence Head of Communications (HOC) Mr Siphiwe Dlamini told SANDF members that they should be proud because South Africa has an immeasurable trust in them. He started by bringing greetings on behalf of the minister of Defence who is currently in Moscow and had asked him to relay a message gratitude to the uniform members.

Dlamini then read a letter penned by an anonymous Member of Parliament (MP) directed at Chief Joint Operations Lt Gen Barney Hlatshwayo.

The letter read: “Dear Lt Gen Hlatshwayo, I would personally like to thank you and your representatives for a well organised trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Thank you for being present at our send off at the ASB Waterkloof which was highly appreciated. Each one of the SANDF staff members with us were outstanding and we have gained a newest trust in them and the important work that you are doing in South Africa for South Africa, especially in the DRC under difficult conditions. Our soldiers do not get enough recognition and you do not get the requisite equipment and the budget you deserve to make DRC safe, SA proud and the entire continent safe. But more importantly, we are proud of our soldiers. I thank you. ”

This letter was written by an anonymous MP who was part of the group that toured DRC for a full week and according to Dlamini, was impressed by what the soldiers are doing.

Dlamini said: “We took them to the red zone in Beni, Erengeti and Simolika. Now Simolika is a place where the Tanzanian Defence Force lost 15 members. What we are doing here is equal to what the deployed soldiers are doing there but under different environment. You are teaching, educating and making South Africans aware of you as a military. For that, I would like you to give yourselves a pat in the back.”

Dlamini could not hold back on his prises for the stellar work done by uniform members during the 2018 Rand Show. He said: “I am informed that the performance not only on the Arena this time, but also at our static displays was excellent. Ladies and gentlemen, I have seen and heard it myself. Some people were asking where I was and I said I didn’t have to be there because I have trust in the members of the SANDF who are representing themselves very well. And it was a great great job well done.”

The head of Communications reiterated the foreseeable commitment of the SANDF to the Rand Show.

He said: “Colleagues, we are going to be with the Rand Show for the next three years. We have signed an agreement with the Johannesburg Expo which is responsible for this place for the next three years.”

Before leaving the stage, Dlamini made a very welcome gesture for soldiers who will be involved with Rand Shows in the future.

He said: “I thank you from the bottom of my heart and I would like through you, thank your families, your husbands, wives, children and the rest of your relatives for allowing you to avail yourself to be here during Easter weekend when you are supposed spent some quality time with them”.

He continued by making this bold and welcome promise: “And with that I suspect that next year you might be allowed to bring your families. Though I might be over-stepping my line, but i will leave that to Gen Mgobozi. And with those few words, colleagues, I thank you and appreciate every little thing that you do to showcase SA national progress.”

It was only fair that the host of the Rand Show, who is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr Craig Newman said a few words of his own.

After thanking everyone, Newman said: “It is the effort of all of you that makes the SANDF’s participation at the Rand Show so special. We’ve heard loads of raving comments once again about the 13,000 square kilometre of exhibits. Though I am a little worried about my lawn, I would like to thank the entire team under general Mgobozi for all the effort it took to make the SANDF participation in the Rand Show the success that it is. It has gone from strength to strength. I thank you and I am looking forward to the next three years.”

Director of Defence Corporate Communication (DCC),Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi took to the stage and started by promising that the suggestion made by the HOC for soldiers to bring along family members in future Rand Shows, becomes a reality.

He said: “I am glad that there are recorders recording everything here. So, that would be enough to hold the HOC into account of what he said. I mean I have been with the Rand Show since 2011 and I had to endure the stresses of waking up in the wee hours of the morning to attend early meetings. So for that reason i will make sure that we would no longer miss spending time with our families since they will be here with us”

Gen Mgobozi thanked the CEO of the Rand Show Mr Craig Newman, and said that since the show is business orientated, it would not have been the success it is today without the involvement and the participation of the South African National Defence Force.
The evening ended with a scrumptious Halaal and vegetarian themed meal.

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