Hibiscus Coast honours air force

2010-11-22 00:00

IT was a weekend of glamorous celebrations for the Hibiscus Coast Municipality (HCM) as the Mobile Deployment Wing of the South African Air Force (SAAF) was honoured with a gala dinner on Friday and a parade on Saturday.

The air force enjoys freedom of entry into the Hibiscus Coast and a celebration is held annually to demonstrate its capabilities.

This year celebration was even more significant as it marks the 90th anniversary of the SAAF.

HCM mayor Nolwazi Shusha attended the dinner held at the Margate Civic Hall on Friday.

She thanked members of the air force — about 200 — who were in attendance.

“It is a privilege to honour those from the Mobile Deployment Wing,” she said.

“The relationship between the SAAF and the HCM goes back many years and I am confident that it will last for a long time to come.”

The focus turned to Margate Airport on Saturday morning, where the mayor unveiled a plaque commemorating the construction of the airport.

After an official military greeting between Shusha and SAAF members, two helicopters flew over the airport in spectacular fashion; one was flying the national flag and the other the flag of the SAAF.

The highlight of the weekend was undoubtedly Saturday’s military parade that moved through the streets of Port Shepstone, ending in front of the council chamber in Connor Street.

The parade featured military vehicles, fire engines and a brass band and was witnessed by KwaZulu-Natal Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize.

Mkhize was honoured for his services to the province when the mayor formally granted him freedom of entry into the Hibiscus Coast.

“This is a special honour that I would like to accept on behalf of all the people in the province,” said Mkhize, when addressing the members of the public who had gathered on Connor Street.

“I would also like to thank the air force for providing security to all South African citizens and for playing a peacekeeping role in Africa.”

The SAAF pledged to begin a Gamalakhe outreach programme that will aim to encourage an interest in the air force among the community’s youth.

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