Government supports youth development opportunities

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Government is committed to supporting the various skills and training opportunities offered by the Department of Defence for young people, says President Cyril Ramaphosa.

He said government is committed to supporting these initiatives as part of strategies to absorb young people into training and employment opportunities.

Addressing the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) Inter-Faith Service at the Mittah Seperepere Convention Centre in Kimberley, in the Northern Cape on Sunday, President Ramaphosa applauded the Department of Defence for actively promoting the Defence Force as a career of choice.

The Armed Forces Inter-Faith service is hosted by the SANDF as part of the build-up to the official commemoration of Armed Forces Day which commemorates the sinking of the SS Mendi in 1917. A large number of soldiers lost their lives in the tragedy.

President Ramaphosa said Armed Forces Day, held on 21 February, has become a day that allows the country to remember all the men and women who paid the ultimate price in defence of freedom, peace, and justice.

“It is a day that reminds us that blood was spilled by countless South Africans and freedom fighters to guarantee us our freedom and human rights.

“It is a reminder that brave men and women continue to put their lives on the line to secure and hard-won freedoms and defend our Constitution,” he said.

President Ramaphosa said this year’s celebrations carry a profound and special meaning for the nation as they occur in a year when South Africa commemorates the centenary birthday of the first Commander in Chief, former President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

“They occur at a time where our defence force has once again confirmed the depth of the roots of our democracy and the flourishing of Constitutional order.

“It is this SANDF – the people’s National Defence Force – that our founding father, President Nelson Mandela envisaged as a non-partisan unifier and defender of all South Africans,” he said.

Former President Mandela moulded the SANDF into a law-abiding institution that upholds the Constitution of the Republic in defence of its people.

“President Mandela left us a coherent SANDF whose task is to diligently safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic, build peace, and support development on the African continent.

“He left us a National Defence Force that is a true microcosm of our diverse society. This is an SANDF that inspires confidence for a better, more secure tomorrow,” he said.

President Ramaphosa paid tribute to the men and women that wear the SANDF uniform and bear arms on behalf of South Africans.

“Thank you for lending a hand in the renewal and development of our beloved country. Your patriotism is felt throughout our country through community initiatives like Koba Tlala.

“We look to you to remain the disciplined soldiers and agents of rural development through Koba Tlala, local procurement, small business support, skills development, and enterprise development,” he said.

South Africa’s soldiers have been tasked with assisting with rural development and meaningfully contributing to the National Development Plan (NDP) through the Project Koba-Tlala. –


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