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President to officiate at Armed Forces Day

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The Commander-in-Chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), President Cyril Ramaphosa, will on Friday, 21 February 2020, officiate at the Armed Forces Day celebrations in Polokwane, Limpopo Province.   
Armed Forces Day is held annually on 21 February in commemoration of the sinking of the SS Mendi steamship on 21 February 1917, one of South African’s worst tragedies of the First World War (1914-1918). A total of 616 black South African troops died when the SS Mendi steamship sank on its way to France.

Armed Forces Day seeks to expand public understanding of the role of the SANDF in the life of the nation and to demonstrate through live simulations of military action the capability of the army, navy, air force and South African Medical Health Service.

Armed Forces Day activities have been taking place at various locations around Polokwane from 14-19 February 2020 and have included static displays of military equipment, a career village for prospective recruits, arena events, sports events including sports clinics and a fun run.

The celebration of Armed Forces Day is expected to include a capabilities demonstration as well as a night shoot and a military parade.

It will also feature a SANDF fly-past, with various landward, air and sea elements on display during the parade.

The President will commence the day with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Polokwane Municipal Gardens memorial of the sinking of the SS Mendi.

President Ramaphosa will then proceed to the military parade where he will take a salute from the South African National Defence Force and deliver an address to the SANDF members and the public.

Programme of the President will unfold as follows:

First Part: Wreath Laying Ceremony

Date: Friday, 21 February 2020
Time: 09h00
Venue: Polokwane Municipal Gardens, Polokwane, Limpopo

Second Part: Military Parade

Date: Friday, 21 February 2020
Time: 10h00
Venue: Suid Street, Polokwane, Limpopo.

Members of the media wishing to attend the event should send their details including ID or passport numbers to Major Khuselwa Kutshwa on 076 410 6798 or 

Media enquiries: Khusela Diko, Spokesperson to the President on 072 854 5707

Issued by: The Presidency