The commemoration of the sinking of the SS Mendi in the English Channel in 1917 in which more than 600 South African soldiers perished will form part of the activities of the SANDF’s Armed Forces Day in Cape Town on Thursday.
The annual event has been held in different provinces since 2013.
The Western Cape is the seventh province to host Armed Forces Day.
Spokesperson, Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi, says the main aim is to honour those soldiers who died in the line of duty and those who continue to serve in the army.
“It also coincides with the commemoration of the SS Mendi, the Armed Forces Day is also the way of testing the capabilities of the SANDF, if anything can happen, will the SANDF be able to deploy their forces in any province, we are testing our logistical capabilities and the state of readiness of the South African Defence Force.”
Meanwhile, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety Alan Winde, has called on the National Defence Force to rather assist police with peace-keeping, than to go on week-long, expensive parades which are paid for by tax payers.
Winde says since 2012 the Western Cape government has made 12 separate formal demands for the temporary deployment of the SANDF as a visible peacekeeping force, to free up police to do investigative work.
He says their shooting of artillery as fanfare, is traumatising gang-ridden communities, who rather want the army to assist them.
“You just have to walk the streets in these communities that are so crime-ridden, that are dealing with these shootings every night, whose children are being shot and murdered. Ten murders a day. It would have been way better to have our military supporting our police rather than disrupting.”
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