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President Zuma to officiate at the 6th Armed Forces Day celebration

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The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Jacob Zuma, will on Tuesday, 21 February 2017, officiate at the 6th Armed Forces Day celebrations at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

This year’s Armed Forces Day celebration also commemorates the centenary of the sinking of the SS Mendi steamship which killed more than 600 black South Africans during the First World War.

In 2012, President Zuma proclaimed that 21 February each year will be observed and commemorated as Armed Forces Day to expand public understanding of the military’s role and its purpose to society as well as to demonstrate the military combat readiness against threats and as well as to support government during peace time.

Armed Forces Day remains one of the most important events in the country’s calendar as it showcases the capability and contribution to society of the country’s armed forces.

“Armed Forces Day honours members of the SANDF for their outstanding service and dedication during various military operations in defending the territorial integrity of the Republic and protecting our people as well as their selfless contribution in international peacekeeping missions, mostly on the African continent. This year’s Armed Forces Day also marks the centenary commemoration of one of the worst tragedies in the South African history where hundreds of South African troops, including 607 black troops, died during the sinking of the SS Mendi steamship during the First World War on 21 February 1917,” said the Commander-in-Chief, President Zuma.

During the main event of the Armed Forces Day, the President, will take the salute from the South African National Defence Force during the military parade and subsequently bestow military medals to honour some members of the SANDF for their outstanding work and for service to the country.

President Zuma will also lay a wreath in honour of the 616 troops of the South African Native Labour Corps (SANLC) who perished on 21 February 1917 when the SS Mendi steamship tragically sank in the English Channel on the way to France to participate in the First World War.

The SANDF is also hosting various build-up activities in and around eThekwini Municipality to which members of the public are invited to participate.
The programme is as follows;

• Fan Park Grand Opening:
(The Fan Park is open to public until 21 Feb 2017 and will provide live-link to view adjacent events on television big screens. Opening daily from 9h00 - 18h00)
Date: Thursday, 16 February 2017
Venue: Durban Old Drive Inn @ corner Sandile Thusi & Sylvester Ntuli Streets)

• Live Capability Demonstration: (Open to public)
Date: Saturday, 18 February 2017
Time: 14h00

Venue: The New Beach - next to Addington Hospital

• Armed Forces Day Gala Music Concert: (Free Admission)
Date: Saturday, 18 February 2017
Time: 18h30
Venue: Durban City Hall (Dr Prixley KaSeme Street or old West Street).

• CISM Fun Walk / Run (Start from Blue Lagoon to uShaka Marine World)
Date: Sunday, 19 February 2017
Time: 06h00
Venue: Durban Beach Front

• Night Shooting Capability
Date: Monday, 20 February 2017
Time: 18h30
Venue: Blue Lagoon, Durban
The build-up activities are all open to the public and will allow members of the SANDF an opportunity to interact with communities and showcase the latest military equipment and technologies used to protect the Republic and its citizens.

Members of the media wishing to attend the event should send their details including ID and passport numbers to Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi on 082 380 0724 or or Proffesor Ndawonde on 079 891 2782 or Members of the media are also requested to present their valid press cards at points of entry to access the venue. 

Enquiries: Dr Bongani Ngqulunga on 082 308 9373 or or Siphiwe Dlamini on 083 645 4294 or

Issued by: The Presidency Pretoria