Mapisa-Nqakula and three high-ranking SANDF officials extended their condolences to Petso’s family, his Waterkloof Air Force Base colleagues, friends and loved ones.
“The South African National Defence Force is saddened to announce the untimely passing of Brigadier- General Motlhokomedi Kenneth Petso, General Officer Commanding Air Force Base Waterkloof, on June 4,” said Mapisa-Nqakula.
“Further investigations surrounding the circumstances of his death are under way,” she said in a joint statement with Secretary for Defence Dr Sam Gulube, Chief of the SANDF General Solly Shoke and Chief of the South African Air Force (SAAF), Lieutenant-General Fabian Zimpande Msimang.
Petso lived in Pretoria and was 53 at the time of his death.
SAAF spokesperson Colonel Eugene Motati said: “His body was found along the M17 national road near Soshanguve in Gauteng last Tuesday.
“The SAPS are investigating the matter.”
Petso joined the former Bophuthatswana defence force on March 13, 1987, qualified as a pilot on Pilatus aircraft in 1993 and was integrated into the SAAF in 1994 as a second-lieutenant before being posted to 42 Squadron to fly the Cessna 185.
Some career milestones include completing a senior staff course in Alabama, US, in 2008.
He was acting senior staff officer operations at the Directorate: Air Transport and Maritime Systems at SAAF HQ in 2009.
He was promoted to colonel in 2010 and to brigadier-general commanding Air Force Base Waterkloof on July 1, 2015.
Petso’s memorial service will be held tomorrow at 11am at the SAAF Memorial Site of Bays Hill outside Pretoria.
His funeral will be held on Saturday in Mafikeng, Motati said.
Petso leaves his teenage daughter and his siblings.