Pretoria News

Parliament backs defence appointmen­ts

- TARRYN-LEIGH SOLOMONS

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to appoint new defence chiefs has been supported by Parliament with defence analysts saying this was a positive move.

The joint standing committee on defence in Parliament yesterday said it was fully behind the new chiefs of the defence force.

Defence analyst Helmoed Heitman said he was confident in the appointmen­t of the new military command council.

Lieutenant-General Rudzani Maphwanya was appointed as Chief of the SANDF with effect from June 1. He replaces General Solly Shoke whose retirement comes into effect on May 31.

Major-General Wiseman Simo Mbambo was appointed as chief of the SA Air Force while Major-General Siphiwe Sangweni was appointed as chief of joint operations as of June 1. Major-General Ntshavheni Maphaha was appointed as Surgeon General with effect from November 1 and the appointmen­t of Major-General Thalita Mxakato as chief of defence intelligen­ce is effective as of June 1.

Mxakato is the first woman to be appointed as the chief of defence intelligen­ce.

Ramaphosa said he was making a national announceme­nt on these appointmen­ts because this was a substantia­l change in the council.

“I have chosen to make a national announceme­nt on these appointmen­ts as it is the most substantia­l change of command of the armed forces in several years,” said Ramaphosa. .

Heitman said this was a good appointmen­t by Ramaphosa.

“My assumption is that they are all very competent. The fact that this was a live announceme­nt is a clear indication that the president is trying to restore the importance of the defence force,” said Heitman.

The co-chairperso­ns of the Joint Standing Committee on Defence, Cyril Xaba and Mamagase Nchabeleng, welcomed the new appointmen­ts.

“The president made the latest appointmen­ts in view of the positions that would become available in the near future and to fill one position that became vacant following the retirement of the Chief of Airforce, General Fabian Msimang,” said Xaba.

tarryn-leigh.solomons@inl.co.za

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