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News in brief - Date: 17 February 2020
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The Armed Forces Day 2020 celebrations at Polokwane Cricket Club are set to continue until Wednesday (19th) and members of the public, military enthusiasts, scholars and even very young people are invited to visit the Fan Park to see what is on offer.
The week-long display of military activities and static displays of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) started on 14 February. It takes place at the Polokwane Cricket club’s grounds, starting at 08:00 in the morning and continuing until 18:00. Live activities will include air lifting, fast roping, medical rescue and gun run.
According to Brigadier General Tsohane Sandra Lekalakala, main coordinator of the Fan Park, the event gives members of the public an opportunity to interact with the SANDF for them to get exposure to their military. “Its purpose and contribution to Armed Force’s Day is to exhibit the SANDF’s capabilities and to present different career opportunities within the SANDF,” he said. Fan Park activities will be aimed at exposing and “attracting young people to engineering, science and technology, thereby expanding and deepening the country’s technical skills base”.
The SANDF, in collaboration with the Department of Basic Education in Limpopo, will host 4 000 learners each day for six days. The focus will be on Grade 9 – 12 learners, covering all subjects. The SANDF personnel stationed at the Fan Park will receive 30 schools per day. In total, 180 schools will be visiting the Fan Park. Thirty buses will be available to transport the learners from their schools to the Fan Park, with each school allocated a bus. These buses have been made available by the SANDF.
Notwithstanding all the heavy machinery, state-of-the-art and technologically advanced military equipment that will be displayed, learners will also be afforded an opportunity to fly in the South African Air Force (SAAF) aircraft, depending on serviceability and weather conditions. According to the SAAF Fan Park coordinator, Lieutenant Colonel Nthabeleng Mathye, the SAAF has made provision to fly (flip) 60 learners daily. She explained that the selection of such learners would be conducted by the representatives from the Provincial Department of Basic Education and the schools.
The SA Army's Oliphant Tank.