The outgoing Chief of the South African National Defence Force, General Solly Shoke, has thanked those who have supported him throughout his career and in the demanding job as the Chief of the SANDF.
Speaking at the occasion of the Change of Command Parade held in Tshwane on Friday (May 28), General Shoke, said: “Without you and your support and understanding, my work would not have been easy… I am greatly humbled to stand before you in my capacity as the outgoing SANDF Chief.”
General Shoke said he never dreamt he would live to see a South Africa that is free, let alone serve in uniform and ascend to the highest office and rank at the SANDF.
He thanked both former President Jacob Zuma and President Cyril Ramaphosa for the confidence they had in him and for giving him the responsibility to serve the country and its people.
He also thanked the men and women who continue doing the work and execute some of the most difficult tasks being given to the SANDF.
“At times these soldiers are the least acknowledged. To you, I would like to say that I am very proud of you.
“You have made this defence force, the force that it is today and executed all your tasks sometimes under difficult circumstances with dwindling resources at your disposal. You have done well in peacekeeping and internal operations, whilst supporting our people in many ways, including crime combatting,” General Shoke said.
General Shoke will retire on 31 May 2021, when Lieutenant-General Rudzani Maphwanya takes over as Chief of the South African National Defence Force with effect from 01 June 2021.
General Shoke called upon all to rise above personal interests, including political interests, and serve South Africa and her people as loyal servants for their safety and security.
“We should also collectively begin getting rid of some negative elements in our midst who serve their selfish interests and thus bring our good name into disrepute. They tarnish the image and good work that we do and the work that some refuse to acknowledge,” he said.
Announcing the new Chief of the South African National Defence Force and the Military Command in April, President Ramaphosa said since its formation nearly 27 years ago, the SANDF has been vital to the preservation of peace and stability in the land.
The SANDF has as its central mission, the protection of the South African nation and the defence of the democratic constitutional order.