The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is gearing up for this year’s Armed Forces Day celebrations, which will be held in Port Elizabeth. The event will be preceded by various activities with the aim of educating and creating awareness among the public about the SANDF, its role, function and capabilities.
Armed Forces Day is commemorated on 21 February, a day that coincides with the commemoration of the sinking of the SS Mendi in 1917, during World War One.
President Jacob Zuma, in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the SANDF, will officiate this fifth installation of Armed Forces Day. He will confer medals on deserving SANDF members.
“[It is a] the South African population honours the men and women of the South African National Defence Force by affirming their support and gratitude to them for upholding the Constitution of the Republic and defending the territorial integrity of the Republic and protecting its people,” SANDF said on Tuesday.
Armed Forces Day will be preceded by various activities during the week of 13 – 20 February 2016. Sporting events will take place at Gelvan Park Sports Complex from 16 – 19 February, with the aim of encouraging healthy living and fitness in youth and interaction within different communities.
From 13 – 16 February, there will be open days for the public to view SA Navy ships and submarines.
To promote environmental care in the community, about 300 members of the SANDF will carry out a clean-up operation in Bethelsdorp, Langa and Uitenhage on 15 February.
A night gunnery shoot is planned for 18 February at King’s Beach, which is expected to draw a large crowd.
A career exhibition — across four arms of the service — will also form an integral part of Armed Forces Day as the SANDF attempts to attract new recruits.