The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) continues its relief efforts in the flood-ravaged neigbouring countries, Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. This follows the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone IDAI which caused destruction, impacting the lives of more than two million people in the three countries.
It has displaced hundreds of thousands of people, destroyed vast areas, cut off communications and made roads impossible for first responders. In the true spirit or Ubuntu, President Cyril Ramaphosa has responded to the call for assistance from our neighbours and has authorised the dispatching of various interventions, including a search and rescue capability and specialist rescue teams.
The willingness and speedy response of the SANDF speaks of a professional and willing defence force that can be counted on in times of disaster, whether it be local or across our borders. We extend our gratitude to our soldiers who risked their lives in difficult circumstances for extended periods in the humanitarian aid they extended, especially to stranded Mozambicans.
Our air force is also assisting to restore the power supply from the Cahora Bassa hydro-electric generation station to South Africa to relieve some of the pressure on the South African power grid. Furthermore, the committees also note and appreciate the speedy approval from the President to employ our soldiers to Mozambique and Malawi, in his letters to Parliament dated 15 March 2019.
These efforts come in the wake of a successful Armed Forces Day in Cape Town on 21 February, where the SANDF displayed its professionalism and military equipment. Armed Forces Day reinforces the SANDF’s preparedness both at home, to defend and protect our territorial integrity by safeguarding our borders, and to render assistance to our neighbours in times of hardship.
Despite budget challenges, the committees call on the SANDF to further enhance efforts to assist our neighbours. We wish the South African men and women in uniform all of the best with these praiseworthy and valiant endeavours.