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Ramaphosa to address Armed Forces Day next week

President Cyril Ramaphosa will lead Monday’s annual Armed Forces Day as Commander in Chief of the South African National Defense Force (SANDF) in Barberton and Mbombela in Mpumalanga.

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 February 21, 1917.

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

This year marks 105 years since those brave soldiers died 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, South African Military Health Service (SAMHS) and Navy will be part of the parade.

Ramaphosa will then deliver the keynote speech.

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

But last year’s armed forces day/week was a Covid-19 casualty, with a smaller event Ramaphosa give a speech and lay a wreath at the Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town.

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

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

compiled by Narissa Subramoney

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