Parliament welcomes SANDF Cyclone Idai intervention

Saturday, March 30, 2019

The Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans and the Joint Standing Committee on Defence has welcomed the assistance the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has rendered in countries severely affected by tropical Cyclone Idai.

The cyclone hit parts of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi two weeks ago, leaving nations reeling. Hundreds of citizens were killed and thousands displaced during the disaster that has seen the international community pledge support in recovery efforts.

“The committees extend heartfelt condolences to all the families in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, who have lost their loved ones. The effects of tropical Cyclone Idai are one of the worst in Africa and the southern hemisphere as a whole, where it currently ranks as the second or third deadliest tropical cyclone on record,” the committees said in a statement issued on Friday.

The willingness and speedy response of the SANDF speaks of a professional and willing defence force that can be counted on in times of disaster, whether it be local or across our borders, read the statement.

“We extend our gratitude to our soldiers, who risked their lives in difficult circumstances for extended periods in the humanitarian aid they extended, especially to stranded Mozambicans.

“Our Air Force is also assisting to restore the power supply from the Cahora Bassa hydro-electric generation station to South Africa to relieve some of the pressure on the South African power grid.”

The committees also acknowledged the speedy approval by President Cyril Ramaphosa to employ soldiers to Mozambique and Malawi.

The committees said the efforts come in the wake of a successful Armed Forces Day in Cape Town on 21 February, where the SANDF displayed its professionalism and military equipment. 

Despite budget challenges, the committees called on the SANDF to further enhance efforts to assist South Africa’s neighbours.

“We wish the South African men and women in uniform all of the best with these praiseworthy and valiant endeavours,” the committee said. –