Port Elizabeth to host Armed Forces Day 2016

AUGUST 6, 2015

Next year's Armed Forces Day will reportedly be commemorated in Port Elizabeth and planning is reportedly already underway to make the event, on February 21, a notable one especially as it will held at a coastal venue for the first time.

This will allow the maritime arm of the SANDF to showcase its platforms where they belong – on and in the sea, according to DefenceWeb.

The Navy will reportedly also work closely with the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality to make the event a day to remember.

Indications are that a number of naval ships, ranging from Valour Class frigates through to Heroine Class submarines as well as the offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) and hopefully the hydrographic vessel, SAS Protea, and the supply ship, SAS Drakensberg, will be offshore Port Elizabeth before, during and after the Armed Forces Day parade.

As has become customary, President Jacob Zuma, SANDF Commander-in-Chief, will be in attendance.

The Human Resources directorate of the SANDF, incorporating the force’s ceremonial section, hosted the first official Armed Forces Day parade in Atteridgeville at the SS Mendi memorial in 2013. Commemorative parades and march pasts have since been held in Bloemfontein with the SA Army as host and last year in Potchefstroom where the SA Air Force was the organising authority.

February 21 marks the day of South Africa’s single largest naval disaster: the sinking of the troopship SS Mendi in the English Channel.

A Navy source said told the website that it was “fitting” for the maritime arm of the SANDF to host Armed Forces Day in a coastal city.