Celebrate Armed Forces Day

Pretoria – As the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces President Jacob Zuma will officiate at the 6th Armed Forces Day celebrations at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Tuesday.

In 2012, President Zuma proclaimed that 21 February each year will be observed to expand public understanding of the military’s role and its purpose to society as well as to demonstrate the military combat readiness against threats and as well as to support government during peace time.

The Presidency said on Friday, Armed Forces Day remains one of the most important events in the country’s calendar as it showcases the capability and contribution to society of the country’s armed forces.

“Armed Forces Day honours members of the SANDF for their outstanding service and dedication during various military operations in defending the territorial integrity of the Republic and protecting our people as well as their selfless contribution in international peacekeeping missions, mostly on the African continent,” said the Commander-in-Chief, President Zuma.

He said this year’s Armed Forces Day also marks the centenary commemoration of one of the worst tragedies in the South African history where hundreds of South African troops, including 607 black troops, died during the sinking of the SS Mendi steamship during the First World War on 21 February 1917

During the main event of the Armed Forces Day the President will take the salute from the South African National Defence Force during the military parade and then bestow military medals to honour some members of the SANDF for their outstanding work and for service to the country.

President Zuma will also lay a wreath in honour of the 616 troops of the South African Native Labour Corps (SANLC) who perished on 21 February 1917 when the SS Mendi steamship tragically sank in the English Channel on the way to France to participate in the First World War.

The SANDF will host various build-up activities in and around Durban ahead of Tuesday, to which members of the public are invited to participate.

There will be a fan park open to the public daily at the Durban Old Drive Inn on the corner Sandile Thusi and Sylvester Ntuli Streets from 9am to 6pm until 21 February 2017. Members of the public will be able to view adjacent events on television big screens.

On Saturday, at 2pm on the New Beach there will be a live capability demonstration. Later in the evening there will be an Armed Forces Day Gala Music Concert at 6.30pm at Durban City Hall, which is free to members of the public.

There will be a fun run/walk on Sunday at the Durban Beach front. The walk will start at 6am from the Blue Lagoon to uShaka Marine World.

Monday will see a night shooting capability demonstration at Blue Lagoon at 6.30pm.

The Presidency said the build-up activities are all open to the public and will allow members of the SANDF an opportunity to interact with communities and showcase the latest military equipment and technologies used to protect the Republic and its citizens.

Source: South African Government News Agency