Richards Bay residents impressed by Armed Forces Day activities


Many in the crowd, who flocked to the Armed Forces Day parade in Richards Bay on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast, have expressed their pride in the country’s military.

President Cyril Ramaphosa presided over the parade, which was also attended by senior ranking representatives of the Russian and Chinese navies.

Armed Forces Day activities this year coincide with a joint exercise between the South African Navy and these two countries.

Thousands of soldiers from all the services of the SANDF took part in the parade which also displayed a range of weaponry and air crafts.

Soldiers marched past the podium on which President Cyril Ramaphosa took the salute. Thereafter, SANDF armoured vehicles, tanks and rocket launchers – to name but a few passed by.

As a formation of jets flew overhead, Brian Timms and his son, Kevin, were among the crowd.

“I’m very impressed with what I’ve seen today and these last couple of weeks. So, I live in Richards Bay and I have been watching everything as it built up and all the military around the town.”

Kevin says,” I think it’s great. I think a strong nation is a military nation and it builds good discipline for the people.”

Armed Forces Day proceedings: 

Remembering fallen heroes 

Chairperson of South Africa’s Reserve Force Council, retired Major General Keith Mokoape has described Armed Forces Day as a victory celebration. He says the day commemorates all South African soldiers who have fallen in the line of duty.

He says amid warnings of increasing natural disasters due to climate change, the importance of the SANDF’s role to provide support to South Africans will increase.

Mokoape says the outreach programmes in the run up to Armed Forces Day is an example of this.

“We’ve been all over northern KwaZulu-Natal, in the clinics, in the communities, in the community halls and all. We just chose five departments: Home Affairs, Health, the police, agriculture, and social development. And we worked with the showing them that our doctors remove a tooth in the field; we remove a cataract in the field. Something a civilian doctor is not able to do. So, we’ve got these outreach programmes.”

Earlier in the day, when Ramaphosa laid a wreath for South Africa’s fallen soldiers at a memorial in nearby Empangeni, local resident Ntokozo Mthembu shared his feelings about the day. -Reporting by Dries Liebenberg and Nonkululeko Hlophe 

Armed Forces Day 2023:

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