Lieutenant-General Rudzani Maphwanya named new Chief of the SANDF
President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his capacity as Commander in Chief, has announced the appointment of Lieutenant-General Rudzani Maphwanya as Chief of the SANDF with effect from June 1.
Ramaphosa on Wednesday announced the appointments of the new members of the Military Command of the SANDF.
Maphwanya, whose military career began in 1978 in Umkhonto we Sizwe and who has held numerous positions in the SANDF since 1994, replaces General Solly Shoke whose retirement comes into effect on May 31.
Maphwanya was described by Ramaphosa as a highly decorated officer with vast operational experience, having served as General Officer Commanding the South African Special Forces in 2006 and as General Officer Commanding the SA Infantry Formation in 2016 before his appointment in 2019 as Chief of Joint Operations.
Ramaphosa said Maphwanya would be promoted from Lieutenant-General to General upon his appointment and would serve in the position for five years.
Other new appointments to the Military Command include those of Major-General Wiseman Simo Mbambo, currently Deputy Chief of Staff of the SANDF, who was appointed as Chief of the South African Air Force, and the appointment of Major-General Siphiwe Sangweni as Chief of Joint Operations as of June 1. Sangweni is currently serving as the General Officer Commanding Joint Operations HQ.
Ramaphosa also announced the appointment of Major-General Ntshavheni Maphaha as Surgeon General with effect from November 1 and the appointment of Major-General Thalita Mxakato, currently Deputy Chief Defence Intelligence, as Chief of Defence Intelligence as of June 1.
“Once she assumes her position as the Chief of Defence Intelligence, Major-General Mxakato will become the first woman to be appointed to the Military Command of the SANDF,” Ramaphosa said.
He said that this was a significant and long overdue development in the ongoing effort to advance the position of women in the country’s armed forces. The three majors-general will be promoted to the rank of lieutenant-general on taking their new positions.
“I am confident that under the leadership of these men and women, the SANDF will continue to fulfil its constitutional responsibility to defend and protect the Republic, its territorial integrity and its people.
“I have no doubt that as these distinguished individuals assume their new posts, they will also be conscious of the assignment that history has bestowed on them, to be the guardians of democracy, of peace and of freedom,” Ramaphosa said.