Byline: Kelebogile Masemola

10 September 2022

SANDF awarded long service medals during a parade at the Pretoria Military Sport Grounds on Friday, 02 September 2022.

The parade was presided over by the Chief of South African National Defence Force, General Rudzani Maphwanya.

A total of 293 service members on parade were honoured for their distinguished service of 30 and 40 years of good service in the SANDF.

A record 228 qualifying members of the permanent force who served in the SANDF for 30 years, received “Medalje vir Troue Diens”, a gold medal signifying good service.

The parade saw 65 recipients being presented with a 40 years of long service “Medalje vir Uitnemende Gedrag en Toegewyde Diens” (award), a Medal for Distinguished Conduct and Loyal Service.

Maphwanya said he was humbled as they celebrated the soldiers on parade and many others who could not be there, for their illustrious careers that spanned over two decades and more.

“These recipients on parade are and have always stood ready to lay down their lives for the well-being of our democracy.

We are reassured that our beloved country’s national defence and security issues are well taken care of by soldiers who chose to step out of the comfort of their homes into the fire to put their country first.”

SA National Defence Force members receive Long Service Medals

Maphwanya said the selfless sacrifice over the 30 to 40 years of service had contributed in carving a culture of hard work and dedication among those they served with.

He said it was only natural that they inspired soldiers cut from the same cloth, serving the people of South Africa domestically and across the continent at large as part of the country’s international obligation to peace and security.

“Today we are rewarding the selfless gesture of these gallant men and women who have given their youth and lives for the service of our country.

Each member’s medal is a narrative, it is a good story of selflessness, sacrifice and commitment to defend the lives of our people.

Soldiers understand that South Africans invest a lot of trust and confidence in the military, and we always do our best to never betray that trust.”

Maphwanya said soldiers were always ready to be deployed in support of the SAPS in defence of the people in the fight against the triple scourge of crime, drugs and gangsterism.

SANDF spokesperson Brigadier-General Andries Mokoena Mahapa said: “We put our lives in line at the defence of the Constitution and the flag.

“Some members have served for more than 40 years and selflessly so, others 10 years or 20 years”

Events like this need to be acknowledged and celebrated.

It is a tradition within the SANDF that when you serve for a number of years you need to be acknowledged even if you have retired, so you look at that medal and say I have served my country proudly so.”