Picture: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – Through praise and criticism on its presence in Cape Town during this year’s Armed Forces Day events, the SANDF has sent its gratitude to residents of the Mother City who supported it in commemorating the sinking of the SS Mendi.

The SANDF said what it had achieved would not have been possible had it not been for authorities and people of the “marvellous City”.

“It was through their support that the SANDF successfully managed to commemorate the sinking of SSMendi, honour its heroes and heroines in the largest military parade in Cape Town since 1994 and conduct real-time mission readiness training to showcase the readiness of the SANDF.

‘‘The SANDF would like to extend its sincerest gratitude to the residents of the Mother City and the surrounding areas in the Western Cape for their rousing welcome and support throughout the planning and execution stages of this year’s Armed Forces Day event,” it said.

The SANDF had received some criticism from people who said it had harmed the marine ecosystem and biodiversity.

Some people also shared an apartheid-era image of a Ratel infantry fighting vehicle half-submerged underwater, falsely describing it as an SANDF vehicle.

“There is a saying that ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, but when that picture is a misleading one about the country’s armed forces, there is a great danger that the people might turn against the very same military that was created to defend them, and for this all patriotic South Africans must condemn advocates of such fallacies and divisive innuendoes with the contempt they deserve.

‘‘The SANDF adheres to all laws of the land, including environmental health and safety and animal welfare statutes. We have done this in all cities where we have hosted Armed Forces Day, especially at the coastal cities of Port Elizabeth and Durban, with their vast marine life,” the SANDF said.

Separate to Armed Forces Day, the Transnet National Ports Authority Port of Saldanha hosted 111 high- ranking defence force members from the SA National War College (SANWC), to expose members who are participating in the Joint Senior Staff Programme to the roles and characteristics of the SANDF and its maritime capabilities.

Port of Saldanha port manager Captain Vernal Jones said: “It is enlightening for the port to be viewed as a strategic partner of the SANWC.”

Cape Times