City ‘under siege’ soon

2018-01-31 06:01
National Armed Forces Week will take place in Kimberley from 15 to 21 February. This was announced at a media conference at the Mittah Seperepere Convention Centre on Thursday (25/01). At the conference are, from the left, Brig.Gen. Mafi Mgobozi, Col Eugene Motati, Siphiwe Dlamini (SANDF spokesperson) and Brig.Gen. Jacobus Butler. Photo: Boipelo Mere

National Armed Forces Week will take place in Kimberley from 15 to 21 February. This was announced at a media conference at the Mittah Seperepere Convention Centre on Thursday (25/01). At the conference are, from the left, Brig.Gen. Mafi Mgobozi, Col Eugene Motati, Siphiwe Dlamini (SANDF spokesperson) and Brig.Gen. Jacobus Butler. Photo: Boipelo Mere

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Kimberley will once again be covered in camouflage as about 10 000 members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) take over the city from 15 to 21 February.

The force comes equipped with an activated military court, one judge, two prosecutors and one defence council to address any mishaps during its week-long programme.

The city is expected to be a hive of activity, as streets will be closed, while businesses and schools will also be affected by the activities of National Armed Forces Week.

The annual commemoration has been rotating through five provinces before it was scheduled to come to Kimberley.

Armed Forces Day will be used to host a commemoration and parade in remembrance of the sinking of the troopship SS Mendi on 21 February 1917.

The incident is regarded as one of South Africa’s worst tragedies at sea. It took place during the First World War (1914 to 1919) and caused the death of 616 South Africans, including 607 black troops serving in the South African Native Labour Contingent at the time.

The cause of the incident has been explained as the SS Darro, travelling at full speed and emitting no warning signals, ramming the SS Mendi.

The centenary of the sinking of the SS Mendi was celebrated last year, when the same route was travelled symbolically from Cape Town to the United Kingdom (UK) to show ­appreciation to those who had travelled on it.

Apart from the exciting programme anticipated for National Armed Forces Week, a highlight will be Pres. Jacob Zuma’s wreath-laying ceremony at the World War I Memorial in Du Toitspan Road as part of the closing ceremony on Wednesday, 21 February.

Brig.Gen. Jacobus Butler has said that what was previously known as a one-day activity has grown to such an extent that it has become something much bigger.

Among the activities planned is the school music events scheduled to take place from 12 to 15 February, with performances by the South African Army Band Free State and KwaZulu-Natal, the South African Air Force (SAAF) Band, the South African Navy Marimba Band and the South African Military Health Service Band.

A fan park will be created at the A.R. Abass Stadium, where young people will be encouraged to feed their curiosity about the various career opportunities in the defence force and will have access to application forms.

“Fan parks are aimed at exposing young people in each province to the uniqueness of the SANDF,” said Siphiwe Dlamini, SANDF spokesperson.

“In this regard, we also go the extra mile by visiting villages and sending officers to make vibrant presentations.”

Elaborating on the importance of the day, Dlamini said the heroes and heroines of the SANDF (those who are still alive, as well as those who have passed on) played a vital role in carrying the flag of the country and protecting us.

On 17 February, a 57-piece Symphonic Concert Wind Band, an 8-piece SAAF Entertainment Band, the ASB Western Cape Choir and the SAAF Choir is expected to perform at the Mittah Seperepere Convention centre as part of a music evening.

An interfaith church service will be held at the convention centre on 18 February.

On 20 February a capability demonstration, also known as a night shoot, will be hosted by the Free State at De Brug for invited guests only.

The use of equipment like aircraft, specialised vehicles, operational vehicles, busses and motorbikes will be demonstrated by SANDF personnel throughout the celebrations.

Sporting activities in the form of clinics will be held for about 1 200 school learners per day at the De Beers Stadium, the Galeshewe Stadium and the Karen Muir Swimming Pool from 16 to 29 February.

  • Prior notice regarding road closures will be given and screens will be set up along Du Toitspan Road to enable public viewing.

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