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By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

Ntshavheni affirms SANDF’s capabilities amid funding challenges

Armed Forces Day has nothing to do with the military's capabilities, says Ntshavheni.

Minister in The Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni says the decision by the South African National Defence Forces (SANDF) to not hold the annual Armed Forces Day is not a reflection of its ability to fulfil its constitutional mandate.

The Armed Forces Day is observed on 21 February every year and its a day where South Africans get the opportunity to honour the SANDF as it showcases the latest military equipment and technologies that is used to protect the public.

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The SANDF, however, decided to skip the festivities this year amid funding challenges.

Briefing the media on Thursday on the outcomes of the Cabinet meeting held on Wednesday, Ntshavheni said the SANDF was still capable of fulfilling its mandate despite the funding challenges.

This, according to Ntshavheni, was demonstrated by its ability to respond to emergencies and assist police in their work against illegal mining, and also the deployment for missions beyond our borders.

“I don’t understand how the decision by the SANDF not to host the Armed Forces Day relates to their ability to execute their constitutional mandate,” said Ntshavheni.

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“On the constitutional mandate of the SANDF, it is fully able, yes they have challenges and the challenges in terms of funding their work as the SANDF are being resolved between the department of defence and national treasury and there [are] Cabinet decisions to that effect.

“To show and demonstrate that national defence is still able and capable, the national defence force are engaged in a number of programs to show the sovereignty of this country is still fully protected by the SANDF. They still respond to disaster emergencies and work to rebuild not only this country, but also neighbouring countries.”

Ntshavheni also expressed Cabinet’s condolences to the loved ones of Captain Simon Mkhulu Bobe and Lance Corporal Irven Thabang Semono of the SANDF who were killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on 14 February.

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They were part of the Southern African Development Community Mission in the DRC, deployed to restore security, peace, and stability in line with the AU Agenda of “Silencing the Guns by 2030”.

Cabinet also wished the three other soldiers injured in the attack a speedy recovery.

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