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 SAAF College Change of Command and Medal Parade on 22 Feb 08

Article by CO Solomon M. Kotane and Sgt Thabang Bapela, Ad Astra magazine
Photos by 5 ASU, AFB Waterkloof

Brig Gen Piet Burger, Director Education, Training and Development (DETD), recently officiated as Review Officer at the SAAF College's Cha
nge of Command and Medal Parade held on 22 February 2008.

Addressing the guests and parade alike, Brig Gen Burger remarked that: “A medal can never be bought or negotiated, it can only be earned. It is a symbol of service”.

The event was held at the South African Air Force College, Thaba Tshwane, in Pretoria.

The ceremony was attended by members of the Air Force Command Council as well as the previously retired Chief of the Air Force, Lt Gen Roelf Beukes and his spouse.

Other members included the outgoing Officer Commanding of the SAAF College; Col Lembede, the Officer Commanding designate of the SAAF College, Col Janse van Rensburg and his spouse; medal recipients and their respective guests together with senior officers and non-commissioned officers attending the event.

Brig Gen Burger also noted that the award of a medal to a member of the SAAF reflected the Air Force’s recognition and appreciation of and respect for the member’s dedication in rendering a service of high standard. It is imperative, he said, that all members identify and peruse the organisation’s mission, key values, role, goals and broad force design. Additionally, he also elaborated on some internal developments in the SAAF.

Brig Gen Burger commended those on parade by saying that they had upheld one of the best traditions of the Air Force, and that they were a credit to the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).

Those who received medals were:

Lt Col P.M. Dolo (Operational Medal for Southern Africa), Lt Col P.M. Dolo, Sgt M.C. Sefume (South Africa Service Medal), Lt Col P. M. Dolo, Lt Col D.A. Lebele, Lt Col R.V. Thwala, Sgt M.C. Sefume, Sgt S.F. Serero (Unitas Medal), F.Sgt T.J. Mathe and Sgt M.C. Sefume (Good Service Medal (Bronze) and Capt G. J. Botha and Capt G. Kirsten (Medalje vir Troue Diens).

Herewith the CV of the outgoing Officer Commanding of the SAAF College, Col P.S. Lembede.

Col P.S. Lembede was born in KwaZulu Natal, (Umbumbulu), on 22 August 1965. He joined the Azanian People’s Liberation Army (APLA) in 1982, and matriculated at Ekwazini Senior Secondary School in 1986.

In 1989 he successfully completed his Secondary Teacher’s Diploma at Amanzimtoti College of Education. The following year he became a teacher at S’khwama Junior Secondary School. In 1991 he was transferred to Zwelihle Secondary School. Five years later, he was posted to Embizweni Senior Secondary School.

Col Lembede was integrated in the SANDF in 1997. He joined the SAAF in the same year as a Major at AFB Durban. In 1999 he finished a B.A. degree at the University of Zululand. In 2002 he attained his Masters Degree in Human Resource from Rand Afrikaans University (RAU) and as from 2008 he became a first year student for a Masters Degree in Business Leadership (MBL).

Col Lembede completed the Junior Command and Staff Course (JCSC) in 1999. Furthermore, he finished the Joint Senior Command and Staff Programme (JSCSP) in 2004 at the National War College, before his appointment as Officer Commanding of the SAAF College from 01 January 2005 until 31 December 2007.

Some of the achievements as OC of the SAAF College was attaining first position as the best SAAF Training Unit in 2006. During the same year, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) accredited the College. In 2007, the SAAF College achieved third position as the SAAF’s Best Training Unit.

Col Lembede was appointed Senior Staff Officer Human Resource Development at the Air Command with effect from 01 January 2008. He is married to Pretty Lindiwe and they have two daughters, Nolwande (7) and Siyajabula (4)

Col J.W. (Wessie) Janse van Rensburg, matriculated in 1979 at the Wolmaranstad Technical High School (North West) and joined the Defence Force on 18 April 1980.

He completed the Officers’ Forming Course in 1989 and was subsequently transferred to the Forward Air Force Command Post (FACP) in Port Elizabeth, where he served as an Intelligence Officer. He completed the Certificate in Military Management at UNISA in 1993.

On 11 April 1994, Col van Rensburg was transferred to the Air Force Command Post (AFCP) in Pretoria, where, under the command of the Senior Staff Officer Intelligence for Operations, he served as Staff Officer Intelligence Force Preparation.

On 01 March 1995, Col van Rensburg was appointed as Staff Officer Intelligence Services in the Directorate Intelligence and on 01 January 1998 he was selected as Staff Officer Collection and Resource Management. During this period, he was also appointed as Secretary of the then SAAF Intelligence Staff Council and completed the Junior Command and Staff Course.

The following year, Col van Rensburg was appointed Staff Officer Intelligence and Security Plan in the Directorate Air Capability Plan at the Air Force Office. During this time, he served as the task team leader under the chairmanship of Brig Gen Riaz Saloojee (ret), who was charged with the responsibility of advising the then Air Force Board (now Air Force Command Council) on the transformation of the Air Force.

On 12 February 2001, Col van Rensburg was appointed as SSO Corporate Strategy at the Directorate Corporate Staff Services, as well as Secretary of the then Air Force Board. In December the same year, he was temporarily selected as the Personal Staff Officer of the previous Chief of the Air Force, Lt Gen Roelf J. Beukes (ret).

In 2003 he completed the Joint Senior Command and Staff Programme at the National War College. On 01 January 2004, he was promoted to the rank of Colonel and permanently appointed as the Personal Staff Officer to the Chief of the Air Force, a position in which he first served under the former Chief of the Air Force and subsequently also under the current Chief of the Air Force, Lt Gen Carlo Gagiano.

Col Janse van Rensburg was appointed as Officer Commanding of the SAAF College with effect from 01 January 2008. He is married to Alta and they have three children, Drikus, Esca and Néll.

Did you know?

The SAAF College was formed as a wing of the former South African Military College on 07 March 1949. On 01 July 1950, the Air Wing became the Independent Air Administration and Staff School and on 07 December 1951 it was renamed the SAAF College.


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