SAAF and Special Forces fly the environmental flag for the SANDF
The SA Air Force was the big winner in this year’s Department of Defence (DoD) environment awards. The airborne arm of service of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) took home 14 awards in total with AFB Langebaanweg in Western Cape the single biggest winner bagging five awards – one as winner of the water efficiency award and the other four as runners-up. While not a newcomer to the environment awards, the Special Forces contingent this year took top honours in both the ecological management (4 Special Forces Regiment) and base environmental management (5 Special Forces Regiment) competitions. 5 Special Forces Regiment shared the runner-up trophy with AFB Makhado in the ecological management sector of the awards. AFB Overberg, the Southern Cape base that is also home to the SAAF’s test flight and development centre (TFDC), took home a winner’s floating trophy and two runner-up awards. AFB Zwartkop, home to the SAAF Museum and 17 Squadron, was a runner-up in the environmental education and training sector of the awards.
A notable award was as a runner-up in the integrated waste management award for the Armed Forces Day 2016 environmental team. The event was held over a week-long period in Port Elizabeth and saw naval as well as airborne action, drill and other military displays in what is now a permanent fixture on the SANDF calendar. The DoD environment awards are now in their 33rd year and are recognition for units and individual contributions to various aspects of integrated environmental management in the military sector. Lieutenant Colonel Matloki Misapitso of 4 Artillery Regiment was presented with the Conservamus trophy for his unit’s contribution to rhino conservation noted by the main speaker at the award ceremony, Secretary for Defence Sam Gulube. He pointed out Misapitso’s achievement was proof that conservation and sustainability issues in the SANDF were not always the responsibility of members mustered as environmental and education officers and NCOs. “We can all make a difference, as evidenced by Colonel Misapitso’s efforts, and become involved from the lowest to the highest level,” Gulube said.