He is widely accepted as the soldier who has achieved the most in democratic South Africa and currently heads up the United Nation’s single largest peacekeeping operation.
What is not widely known about Lieutenant General Derrick Mgwebi is his commitment to and involvement with the amaXhosa nation.
This took centre stage today (Thursday) at the Mhlahlane Great Palace near Willowvale in Eastern Cape where Defence and Military Veterans Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, delivered a message of support in honour of Mgwebi’s achievements.
She was one of those present at a gathering at the Great Palace to honour Mgwebi for his contributions to the amaXhosa Kingdom and his achievements as a South African soldier.
“He has close to four decades of national and international military experience. Not only does he have an illustrious military background, he also serves as one of the advisors to the king. His leadership qualities and commitment to the development of traditional affairs has earned him great respect among his peers and the public at large,” a Defence Ministry statement said..
“When UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon announced Mgwebi’s appointment as Force Commander of the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) in December 2015, the SANDF was honoured, but most importantly, the country. We knew South Africa was giving the world one of its best soldiers,” the statement continued, adding: “This was a further confirmation of General Mgwebi’s contribution as a role model for the younger generation”.
Mapisa-Nqakula commended King Zwelonke Sigcawu for “paying a befitting tribute to this gallant son of Africa”.
Prior to his appointment as MONUSCO Commander, Mgwebi was head of the Joint Operations Division of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF). Before that he was SANDF Chief: Human Resources and he also served as General Officer Commanding of the SA Army’s Mpumalanga Command and General Officer Commanding of the SA Army Infantry Formation.
Mgwebi has been awarded the Southern Cross Decoration, Southern Cross Medal, Military Meriti Medal, Military Rule Medal, General Service Medal, Medal for Loyal Service with the 30 year clasp, Good Service Medal, Silver (20 years), Faithful Service medal and the Transkei Defence Force Medal. He has also earned his parachute wings and wears a Special Forces operator badge.