In his first public engagement since delivering his maiden State of the Nation Address on Friday, President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday delivered the keynote address at an interfaith service in Kimberley, aimed at remembering the country's soldiers who died in the line of duty.
The prayer service was held in preparation of Armed Forces Day on Wednesday.
"The marking of the 21st February allows our nation never to forget the heroic sacrifices of our soldiers who died that fateful morning when the SS Mendi sank in the English Channel. It is a reminder that brave men and women continue to put their lives on the line to secure and hard-won freedoms and defend our Constitution," said the now Commander-in-Chief of the SANDF.
The Armed Forces Inter-Faith service is hosted by the SANDF as part of the build-up to the official commemoration of #ArmedForcesDay on Thursday, 21 February 2018, which commemorates the sinking of the #SSMendi in 1917, in which a large number of soldiers lost their lives.— South African Government (@GovernmentZA) February 18, 2018
The late Nelson Mandela envisaged the SANDF as a non-partisan unifier and defender of all South Africans, pointed out the president.
"A truly national defence force for all South Africans that guarantees that its tanks and guns will never again roll into townships and suburbs to fight against the very same people it was established to protect."