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Military Honours on Mandela Day at 68 AS
 Article by Cpl Lebogang Ramaboea, Ad Astra Magazine, photos by 5 ASU

The18 July 2014 is not an ordinary day for South Africans and the world. As billions of people celebrated the Nelson Mandela International Day, the South African Air Force (SAAF) hosted a medal parade.

The parade was held at 68 Air School. It was in honour airmen and women who selflessly served the country and the continent. Former statesmen Mandela is what he advocated for serving ones country without expecting much.

Soldiers around the world display medals proudly on their chest as a symbol of honour, bravery and loyalty. According to Brigadier General Martie Visser, who was the review officer the event on the day ought to be celebrated in the context of the 20 years of South Africa’s hard earned democracy.

Moreover, she said “the SAAF has come a long way and was on its journey of change and transformation”. Members on parade and those who came to witness the event were urged by Brig Gen Visser to live according to Mandela’s values. She added that because they are interrelated to the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) Code of Conduct, for military and Public Service Act Administration (PSAP) members. In speaking about the SAAF’s vision, she urged members to continue working together for a better SAAF and country.

The general also spoke about the austerity measures that the organisation has had to implement; she said “more has to be done with less”. The SAAF requires a genuine commitment from each member to strive towards the vision of the air force. The general said that applies to all members of the organisation.

On the day 10 and 20 years medals were awarded to uniform members while 3 civilian members from the 68 Air School Mess received 30 years certificates. The SAAF awarded the certificates of long and unbroken service to Mr L.S. Matsu, Mrs M.E. Mokone and Mrs M.M. Mawelele.

Speaking to Ad Astra Correspondent, Mrs Mawelele and Mokone joined the organisation on 17 February 1981. They said their monthly salary back then was around R79, 00. When asked if it was enough, Mrs Mokone laughing said “yes it was because we could manage to eat and pay bills”. Technology came with innovative way as they now receive salary advices of world standard.

According to Mokone, back then all the information that appear of today’s document “were on a small piece of cardboard and it was hand written”. Mawelele will miss the SAAF when pension time comes, her best friend and colleague Mokone starts her pension next year. They urged those entering the job market now to respect their bosses so that they too reach over 30 years’ of service.



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