All Roads Lead to Bloemfontein for this Year's Armed Forces Day, 21 February 2014
Warriors of Bangui Honoured for Bravery on Armed Forces Day 2014, Bloemfontein, 21 February 2014
SA Army Takes a Lead at the Armed Forces Parade in Bloemfontein, 21 February 2014News 2011
Warriors of Bangui Honoured for Bravery on Armed Forces Day 2014, Bloemfontein, 21 February 2014

Article and Photographs by Candidate Officer  Marumo Machete, SA Army Corporate Communication

Military units that took part in the Battle for Bangui proudly paraded their battle colours during the Armed Forces Day held at Air Force Base Bloemspruit, Bloemfontein, 21 February 2014.

The battle colours bestowed on 1 Parachute Battalion, 5 Special Forces Regiment and 7 Medical Battalion for their gallant participation during Operation Vimbezela in the Central African Republic (CAR) were paraded for the first time in public together with other units from the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).

This year’s, Armed Forces Day coincided with the commemoration of the sinking of the SS Mendi and had the President of the Republic of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, in his constitutional capacity as the Commander in Chief of the SA National Defence Force, as main functionary.

President Zuma conferred a total of twenty seven medals to men and women who served selflessly during the operation in the central African state, 12 of which were posthumous.

This bestowal of battle honours and the conferment of medals for the SA National Defence Force happens at a time when the country celebrates its 20th year of democracy.

Addressing the parade following his bestowal of bravery and merit decorations to recipients, President Zuma hailed them as heroes who served selflessly to ensure peace prevails around Africa.

The Commander-in-Chief took a swipe at those who considered South Africa’s then presence in the Central African Republic as unwarranted. He thanked those that fought and died in the Central African Republic mission for having fought well.

“It is our view that the true account of the Battle of Bangui, the capital, still needs to be documented, debated and be known to South Africans,” President Zuma said.

He also heaped praise on the country’s armed forces for the professional manner in which they took care of former President Nelson Mandela during his last days and the dedication and patriotism they showed during his sending off.

Lieutenant Colonel Sehularo Lechoenyo, from 5 Special Forces Regiment was bestowed the highest decoration of the day, that of Nkwe ya Selefera for bravery. Lieutenant Colonel Lechoenyo braved the odds in the Battle of Bangui together with his other countrymen from 1 Parachute Battalion, 5 Special Forces Regiment and 7 Medical Battalion in their various capacities. He also bagged the Iprothiya ye Golide medal.

Corporal Molatelo Nkoana from 7 Medical Battalion, the only female recipient on parade, was awarded Nkwe ya Boronse. Families of the twelve fallen soldiers from 1 Parachute Battalion received Iprothiya ye Siliva decorations on their behalf.

President Zuma took this opportunity to pledge R500 000 towards the SA National Defence Force Educational Trust which aims to facilitate the educational assistance for dependants of servicemen who died or were injured while on duty.

Among the high profile guests present at the parade were the Prime Minister of Lesotho, South Africa Defence and Military Veterans minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, with the Chief of the SA National Defence Force General Solly Shoke, Chiefs of all our four arms of service and defence ministers from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia and Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa. Among the other spotted high profile guests were General (Ret) Bantu Holomisa and former Chief of the SA Army, Lieutenant General Gilbert Ramano.

List of recipients


SA Navy and SA Military Health Service military members

SA National Defence Force military members

President of the Republic of South Africa, Jacob Zuma and  General Officer Commanding Air Defence Artillery Formation, Brigadier General Jabu Mbuli, the, the parade commander for the day.

SA National Defence Force military members

SA National Defence Force military members President of the Republic of South Africa, Jacob Zuma and SA National Defence Force medal recipients