During the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw many of the armed forces deploying around the world, President Cyril Ramaphosa paid tribute to the SA National Defence Force for their service. The president marked Sunday’s commemoration of National Armed Forces Day. The day commemorates over 600 South African soldiers who lost their lives when the ship, the SS Mendi, sunk in 1917 on its way to Europe.
It was mainly black soldiers who died during World War One on the day on the way to join the British army. The President admitted that, under various conditions, this year’s festivities took place while the country was continuing its fight against the pandemic of Coronavirus. Last year, Ramaphosa mobilized thousands of SANDF troops as the nation went into lockdown to try to minimize cases of Covid-19 in the first wave of the pandemic.
Ramaphosa has since continued to expand its support to some pandemic-related problems. During his speech at the Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town on Sunday, he commended the SANDF soldiers who supported in the hospitals at the height of the pandemic and those who helped police the streets of the country to maintain law and order.
During this pandemic, you have shown by the invaluable work you have done, and continue to do, that the SANDF can be relied on in good times and difficult times, in times of peace and war, in times of stability and prosperity, and in times of crisis.
“In the early days of the lockdown, it was our troops who helped to preserve law and order. In less than 72 hours, the Landward Force deployed no less than 33 firms. In order to repatriate our people abroad who were afraid and wanted to be reunited with their families, the SANDF conducted mercy missions, said the President. At the Mendi Memorial, Ramaphosa laid a wreath and watched a flypast by the SA Airforce.