Africa-Press – South-Africa. President Cyril Ramaphosa has paid tribute to the SA National Defence Force for their work during the Covid-19 pandemic which saw many of the armed forces deployed across the country.
The president was marking the commemoration of the National Armed Forces Day on Sunday.
The day marks the remembrance of over 600 South African troops who lost their lives when the ship, the SS Mendi, sank on its way to Europe in 1917.
It was mostly black troops who perished on the day while on route to join the British army during World War One.
The president acknowledged that this year’s celebrations were taking place under different circumstances when the country was battling its fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.
Thousands of SANDF troops were deployed by Ramaphosa last year as the country went into lockdown to try and decrease Covid-19 cases in the first wave of the pandemic.
Since then, Ramaphosa has continued to extend their assistance for certain issues related to the pandemic.
On Sunday, during his speech in Cape Town at the Castle of Good Hope, he commended the SANDF soldiers who assisted in hospitals at the peak of the pandemic and those who helped patrol the country’s streets to ensure law and order.
“Through the invaluable work you have done – and continue to do – during this pandemic, you have demonstrated that the SANDF can be relied on in good times and in bad; in times of peace and times of war; in times of stability and prosperity, and in times of crisis.
“It was our soldiers who helped to maintain law and order in the early days of the lockdown. The landward force deployed no less than 33 companies in under 72 hours. The SANDF undertook mercy missions to repatriate our citizens abroad who were fearful and wanted to be reunited with their families”, the president said.
Ramaphosa laid a wreath at the Mendi Memorial and observed a flypast by the SA Airforce.