President Jacob Zuma will on Saturday, 21 February 2016, preside over the Armed Forces Day celebration in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape Province.
In 2012, President Zuma, in his capacity as the Commander-in-Chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), proclaimed that 21 February each year will be observed and commemorated as Armed Forces Day.
“Armed Forces Day is to be a day on which 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. It is for this reason that Armed Forces Day coincides with the commemoration of the sinking of the SS Mendi on 21 February 1917,” said President Zuma.
Since the proclamation, the Armed Forces Day has been celebrated in the three provinces, namely: Gauteng, the Free State and the North West Province respectively. This year – 2016 - the Armed Forces Day will be venerated in Port Elizabeth, in the Eastern Cape Province preceded by various activities with the aim of educating and creating awareness in the public about the South African National Defence Force, its role, function and capabilities.
The Commander-in-Chief and President of the Republic, President Zuma will officiate in the 5th segment of Armed Force Day to be held on the 21 February 2016, at 10.00, Brooke Hill Street and Beach Road, Port Elizabeth. As the main functionary he will take the salute from the South African National Defence Force during the military parade.
The Armed Forces Day was implemented to achieve the several objectives which are as follows:
The Armed Forces Day will be preceded by various activities during the week of the 13 -20 February 2016.
These activities will include the following:
At Gelvan Park Sports Complex, the SANDF will conduct a number of sporting activities with the aim of encouraging healthy living and fitness amongst young people and more importantly the participation and interactions within different communities.
There will be an open day for the public to view that navy ships and submarines. The public will be able to view and go inside the warships and submarines which will be opened to the public for the 5 days.
About 300 members of the SANDF will carry out a clean-up operation in Bethelsdorp and Langa, Uitenhage. This will take place from 9h00 – 12h00.
Local citizens will be spoiled for music by five SANDF military bands that will perform free concerts at various community halls around Port Elizabeth. There will also be a free musical gala concert at Feather Market Hall on 18 February 2015.
The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans and the Minister of Social Development will hand over three old age homes that have been repaired and refurbished by the SANDF’s Works Regiment.
The SANDF will host over three thousand (3000) learners each day from Port Elizabeth local schools to a career displays and military displays event. The SANDF Career Expo will be located at Kings Beach. The event is intended to afford learners an opportunity to learn about careers within the SANDF.
SANDF elements namely the SA Army, SA Air Force and the SA Navy will demonstrate capabilities which involved night shooting. This will start at 18h00 at the Kings Beach, Port Elizabeth.
The main event is the Armed Forces Day on 21 February 2016. The President will hand out medals to the deserving SANDF members and take a salute. The march past will consist of about one thousand (1000) SANDF members and over hundred vehicles and aircraft that will participate in the march and fly past.
This will be followed by a capability demonstration by all four Services which involved live demonstration of anti-piracy operations, beach landing by the South African Army, the release of hostages by SA Special Forces and the extraction of injured personnel by the South Air Force and the South African Military Health Services.
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