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By Citizen Reporter

Journalist


Ramaphosa to address Armed Forces Day celebrations in Mpumalanga

Armed Forces Day commemorates the worst naval tragedy in the country’s history – the sinking of the troopship SS Mendi on 21 February 1917.


President Cyril Ramaphosa will officiate the annual Armed Forces Day as Commander-in-Chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) at Barberton and Mbombela in Mpumalanga on Monday.

Armed Forces Day

Armed Forces Day commemorates the worst naval tragedy in the country’s history – the sinking of the troopship SS Mendi in the English Channel on 21 February 1917.

More than 600 SA Native Labour Corps troops drowned when the ill-fated troopship was struck by the SS Darro.

This year will mark 105 years since those brave soldiers met their demise in the line of duty.

The president is expected to lay a wreath at the World War Memorial in Barberton followed by a parade in Mbombela along Samora Machel drive next to Rob Ferreira Hospital.

The event will also feature a flypast of multiple SA Air Force (SAAF) aircraft.

The South African Army, the South African Military Health Service (SAMHS) and the Navy will form part of the parade.

Ramaphosa will then deliver the keynote address.

In previous years the commemorative event took place over the course of the week with displays of defence equipment and career guidance.

But last year’s Armed Forces Day/Week was a Covid-19 casualty, with a scaled-down event seeing Ramaphosa delivering a speech and laying a wreath at the Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town.

Previous Armed Forces Day events were staged in Limpopo (Polokwane – 2020), Western Cape (Cape Town – 2019), Northern Cape (Kimberley – 2018), KwaZulu-Natal (Durban – 2017), Eastern Cape (Port Elizabeth – 2016), North West (Potchefstroom – 2015) and Free State (Bloemfontein – 2014).

The first event was in the military suburb Thaba Tshwane south of the Pretoria CBD.

Compiled by Narissa Subramoney

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