Chief of the Air Force
 

             

 
  
 

 Lieutenant General Fabian Zimpande (Zakes) Msimang

Lieutenant General Fabian Zimpande (Zakes) Msimang integrated into the South African National
Defence Force in 1994 after the First Democratic Elections as a qualified helicopter pilot. He received
his flying training at Frunze 1 Central Officers Training Center - Kirghizstan, in the Union of Soviet
Socialist Republics from 1986 to 1991. He graduated from the institution with a diploma in Command
& Tactics of Military Aviation. During his career he has flown the Mi 8, Mi 25, Allouette III, Oryx
helicopters and also did a factory conversion onto the A109E helicopter at Agusta/Westland in Italy.

He was a member of the Umkhonto We Sizwe (MK), the military wing of the African National
Congress. He engaged in combat in Angola in 1986.

In 1994, he completed the Air Force Junior Staff Course in Zimbabwe before integrating into the South
African National Defence Force.

Post 1994, he served as an operational pilot in both maritime and inland operations.

In 2000, he was appointed the Assistant Project Officer on the acquisition programme of the Agusta A109
in Italy. He went on to successfully complete the Senior Staff Course at the Italian Air Force War
School.

On his return from Italy in 2003, he was appointed Officer Commanding of 87 Helicopter Flying School
at Air Force Base Bloemspruit. The following year he successfully completed the Joint Senior Command
and Staff Programme at the South African National War College.

In 2005, he was appointed Officer Commanding Air Force Base Bloemspruit and promoted to the rank
of Colonel. In 2006, he completed the Executive National Security Programme at the South African
National Defence College.

In June 2007, after a two and a half year tour as Officer Commanding Air Force Base Bloemspruit, he
was appointed Director Helicopter Systems and promoted to the rank of Brigadier General at the Air
Command.

In November 2010, he was appointed Chief Director Air Policy and Plans and promoted to the rank of
Major General responsible for Air Force strategy, policies, capabilities and resource allocation.

Lieutenant General Msimang is nurtured by the love of his life, Africa, his gracious sons and adorable
parents, brother and step sisters.
 

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