President Ramaphosa to officiate annual Armed Forces Day

Monday, February 20, 2023

President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Tuesday, as Commander-in-Chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), officiate the annual Armed Forces Day programme at Richard’s Bay, KwaZulu-Natal. 

Armed Forces Day is held annually on 21 February to commemorate the World War I naval tragedy in which 616 Black South African troops died when the SS Mendi steamship sank on its way to France.

“Armed Forces Day honours women and men who have lost their lives in the course of their patriotic duty in the country or on international missions,” the Presidency’s statement read on Sunday.

The day, according to the President’s Office, also seeks to expand public understanding of the role of the SANDF in the nation's life and to demonstrate through live simulations of military action the capability of the army, navy, air force and South African Medical Health Service.

“Furthermore, Armed Forces Day fuels the imagination of young South Africans in terms of choosing career paths and exercising their passion and abilities.”

The President will commence the day with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Empangeni World War II Monument.

The First Citizen will then proceed to the military parade where he will take a salute from the SANDF and deliver an address to the forces and the public.

The President's visit will be divided into two parts, which will begin with a wreath-laying ceremony before taking part in a military parade. –