Pretoria - Families and service members yesterday celebrated the commissioning of 41 graduates at the SA Air Force (SAAF) College in Thaba Tshwane.
Some of the graduates obtained their qualifications through the Directorate Education Training and Development exchange programme in Cuba.
On completion of their training, the members will be dispatched to various units and bases for further courses in their areas of specialisation.
The deputy chief of the SAAF, Major-General Mzayifani Innocent Buthelezi, issued various awards, including the Air Squadron Sword of Honour, Leadership Floating Trophy, Learner Support Trophy, CAF Fitness Trophy, and Best Academic Learner, to deserving officers who excelled during the course.
Their transformational journey from non-commissioned officers and warrant officers to fully-fledged officers began in July.
After six months of focus and “blood, sweat and tears”, they were joined on a parade ground to celebrate their individual and organisational achievements.
Buthelezi said: “This occasion is one that highlights the impact of desire in purpose and growth in the quest for improving leadership within the military.
“You will be expected by your actions to always give your best in all you do. Never expect your subordinate to do that which you are not willing to do yourself.
“Now is your time, your time to make a difference, to rejuvenate the organisation with new ideas and valuable inputs, inputs that will allow the eagle to soar.
“Henceforth, you have joined a new level of leadership. You are leaders of force traditions, values, culture and norms, all of which guide us, distinguish us from others and give us our uniqueness, that which we know as our ‘Blue Culture’.
“The expectation that we become a force for good is widely shared by the South African populace. Our future as an organisation will be determined by our contribution to ordinary South Africans.
“You have an important role to play in what transpires tomorrow from the lessons learnt yesterday. As you are aware, we are facing an ocean of adversity as an air force.”
Thabo Motane received a fitness and support trophy. Ntombikayise Themba received a fitness, academics and best student overall trophy to earn the Air Squadron Sword.
Siviwe Stoto received a leadership trophy, and Kholofelo Malatsi received an officership trophy.
Themba said: “I am very happy and overwhelmed, but I must say it was very tough.
“I was even surprised when they called my name to receive the Air Squadron Sword.
“I am beyond happy.”