Retiring South African Chief of Defense Forces Thanks SADC for South Africa’s Independence

Retiring SANDF Chief, General Solly Zacharia Shoke

By TZ Business News Staff.   

The South African National Defense Forces (SANDF) have said they are grateful to armed forces in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region for their role in helping bring independence to South Africa.

On Friday, May 28, 2021, General Solly Zacharia Shoke, the retiring SANDF Chief expressed gratitude especially to his fellow generals in the region, including the Tanzania Chief of Defense Forces, General Venance Mabeyo for their role. The retiring  SANDF Chief was delivering a farewell speech at a military parade held in his honor in Pretoria, South Africa’s Administrative capital.

Chiefs of defense forces from the SADC region were in attendance at the farewell ceremony.

General Shoke  said “distinguished  guests, ladies and gentlemen, a special word of welcome for the chiefs of defense forces from the SADC region; these are the people who made it possible for us to enjoy the democracy that we enjoy today–because they made sacrifices for us as South Africans to be free”.

He added: “They never rested, they were part of the front line states; they exercised the spirit of brotherhood. And today, they sit here united in the purpose to ensure that they contribute toward peace in the region; so that our region can develop. I hope this relationship will grow from strength to strength.  I commend you my brothers from the region”.

General Shoke continued: “ I must say I am greatly humbled to stand before you in my capacity as outgoing Chief of South African National Defense Force. Never, in my…dreams did I ever think I would live to see South Africa that is free”.

General  Shoke was bidding farewell to the South African National Defence Forces (SANDF) and colleagues in the region after more than two-and-a-half decades of service.

In his speech he thanked President Cyril Ramaphosa and South Africans in general for showing confidence in him to lead the country’s armed forces. The retiring General received pass by  and gun salutes at the colorful farewell ceremony.  President Ramaphosa   has appointed Lieutenant-General Rhudzani Maphanywa to replace General Shoke. The new CDF takes the helms on 1 June 2021.

A statement from the embassy of the United Republic of Tanzania in Pretoria  says Gen. Venance Mabeyo attended the ceremony in a SADC tradition to strengthen relations through “defence diplomacy”. The Tanzania CDF visited the Embassy after the ceremony and held talks with members of staff.

General Venance Mabeyo (R) visits Tanzania Embassy in Pretoria

In the statement, the embassy quotes General Mabeyo as saying he had learned something from this particular visit to South Africa. The CDF told members of staff Tanzania was currently peaceful.

He asked members of staff to maintain good relations with nations in their area of duty to achieve President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s  objectives on international relations; objectives  which include fostering political and economic diplomacy  aimed at engendering positive results not only for the Government but also for citizens of Tanzania.

The area of operations for the Tanzania embassy in Pretoria includes South Africa, Botswana and Lesotho. The Ambassador to South Africa, retired Maj. Gen. Gaudence Salim Milanzi told the CDF this area of duty was currently peaceful, adding that the Covid-19 pandemic has begun to ease in South Africa. The easing has led to business recoveries as manifest in the strengthening of the  Rand against the US dollar, he said.

General Venance Mabeyo (Center) in Group Photo with members of staff at Tanzania Embassy in Pretoria