South Africa High Commission commemorates Armed Forces Day

Col. Andrew Arnoldus (3rd left), with other Defence Advisors of Selected high commissions and embassies.

The South African High Commissioner to Ghana, Grace Jeanet Mason, has stressed the need for countries of the world to collaborate and plan toward ensuring permanent peace and sustainable development across the world.

“Let us continue to work together to cleanse the future of the past to ensure that the problems between the world’s people can be solved through dialogue and peaceful negotiations,” she said.

She made the call in a speech read on her behalf at an event hosted by the South African High Commissioner in Ghana to honour the men and women in the armed forces who laid their lives in defence of their country.

Known as Armed Forces Day and commemorated across all missions of South Africa, it was also a day on which the South African population honours men and women of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) by affirming their support and gratitude to them for upholding the Constitution of the Republic and defending its territorial integrity, including its people.

Ms. Mason said it has been through concerted efforts that the annual Armed Forces Day was held on February 21 to coincide with the sinking of SS Mendi on February 21, 1917 – one of the worst naval disasters ever recorded in the history of the South African Military.

She explained that the history of the SS Mendi was a story in the supreme courage in the face of death such that the courage displayed by these men is now legendary in South Africa’s military history.

Ms. Mason said: “Now, more than a century later, we lament that in some parts of the world, conflicts and war still continue; history is still being written in blood.

“To continue in the footsteps of gallantry, the SANDF increasingly participates in both African Union and United Nation Peacekeeping and Peace Enforcement Mission on the continent.”

She expressed excitement about the call of the founding Presidents of South Africa and Ghana, who stressed the need for the two countries to work toward regional integration.

“This is now happening not only in government, but also in the private sector and socio-culturally,” she added.

A Defence Advisor at the South Africa High Commission, Accra, Col. Andrew Arnoldus, said: “The SANDF was involved in International Peacekeeping Missions in the continent, more so in the DRC under the UN Stabilisation Mission, and in Mozambique under the AU Mission”.

He explained that currently, there were about 1,200 South African Troops deployed in the DRC as part of the Force Intervention Brigade, together with Tanzania and Malawi counterparts.

“We furthermore have about 1,300 troops deployed in Mozambique, together with Botswana and Zimbabwe in the Southern African Development Community Mission,” he said.

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