Ramaphosa announces Lt-General Rudzani Maphwanya as incoming SANDF Chief

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Lieutenant General Rudzani Maphwanya (Photo by Darren Stewart/Gallo Images via Getty Images)
Lieutenant General Rudzani Maphwanya (Photo by Darren Stewart/Gallo Images via Getty Images)
  • Lieutenant-General Rudzani Maphwanya will replace the outgoing General Solly Shoke as the head of the SANDF.
  • Maphwanya will be promoted to the rank of General once he assumes office with effect from 1 June.
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa has also made three new appointments to head army divisions.

Lieutenant-General Rudzani Maphwanya has been appointed the Chief of the South African National Defence Force. 

Maphwanya will assume office on 1 June.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has described Maphwanya, who will succeed General Solly Shoke, as a highly decorated officer with vast operational experience.

Maphwanya will be promoted to the rank of General upon his appointment, and will serve a term of five years.

Shoke is retiring from the army on 31 May.

"Shoke retires after years of distinguished service to the people of our country," said Ramaphosa.

The SANDF had achieved much under Shoke's leadership, the president continued.

"It is fitting that I make these announcements now in April. Not only is this Freedom Month, it is also the month in which the SANDF celebrates the anniversary of its formation. 

"It was on midnight on 27 April 1994 that all former armed forces in this country ceased to exist and a newly integrated SANDF was formed. The SANDF brought together the forces of uMkhonto we Sizwe, APLA and the defence forces of the previous order.

"It is a matter of proud significance that the SANDF was born on the same day as our democracy," said Ramaphosa.

Rampahosa, who praised the SANDF for its role in the fight against Covid-19, said it had been vital to the preservation of peace and stability in the country.

READ: SANDF chief was right to slam effort to lobby generals into ANC talks - deputy minister

Ramaphosa also announced that Major-General Wiseman Simo Mbambo has been appointed as Chief of the South African Air Force, Major-General Siphiwe Sangweni will serve as the new Chief of Joint Operations, Major-General Ntshavheni Maphaha has been appointed as Surgeon General, while Major-General Thalita Mxakato will be the Chief of Defence Intelligence.

Once she assumes her position, Mxakato will become the first woman to be appointed to the Military Command of the SANDF.   

"This is a significant and long-overdue development in the ongoing effort to advance the position of women in our armed forces. These appointments demonstrate the value of effective succession planning and the development of talent across all institutions as critical as the SANDF.

"I am confident that under the leadership of these men and women, the SANDF will continue to fulfil its constitutional responsibility, to defend and protect the republic, its territorial integrity and its people," Ramaphosa said. 

Upon taking up their positions, Mbambo, Maphaha and Mxakato will be promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-General.

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