SA Chief of Air Force Command Acceptance Parade 2021-06-04

By Russell Dixon-Paver

To quote the opening words of the now retired Chief of the SA Air Force, Lt General (Retired) Msimang, in his opening speech "I cannot tell you what a pleasure and an honour it is to be back here this icy morning. I have so many wonderful memories of this place." We all felt the same way to be back at AFB Swartkop to attend the parade and see aircraft flying again.

AFB Swartkop tower, with the original temporary tower, constructed from packing cases from the Imperial Gift, graces the roof of the hangar in the background.
The public of Pretoria had been treated to two weeks of aircraft activity as the flypasts for the change of Chief of the Defence Force Parade, held last Friday, and culminating in today's Acceptance of Chief of the SA Air Force Parade, were practiced. Many people near holding areas, while timings were established and practiced, said they had their own private air shows, such is the hunger to see aircraft doing what they are meant to do and that was missing for more than a year due to the pandemic impacts.

While celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the SAAF were not celebrated publicly, it was most fitting that the Acceptance Parade for the new Chief of the Air Force was held at AFB Swartkop.

This parade was rather scaled-down compared to what has been the norm in the past, partly due to the restrictions required to control the covid-19 pandemic and no doubt also due to budget constraints. The event was streamed live on the SA Defence Force YouTube channel, which enabled a much wider audience to experience the parade. This was also recorded on YouTube for those who wish to view it later.

Some of the guests present.

Proceedings were opened with the Oryx Flag carriers, displaying the National and Air Force flags. The strength of the icy wind from the East was apparent from the angle of the flags.

Oryx Flag carriers approach from the North.

A gun-salute followed as the Oryx flag-carriers flew past the Parade.

Parade inspection party.

Squadron colours fly as Lt General (ret) Msimang takes the salute for the last time as CAF.

Parade members return to their positions after the salute march past.

Lt General (ret) Msimang gave his speech, honouring fallen heroes and those serving and sharing some words of advice with General Mbambo. He also reviewed some aspects of his 8-year term as CAF and expressed concern at the difficulties faced by the defence industry. He thanked his former office staff, members who participated in the parade and those who worked behind the scenes. He specially thanked his wife for her support and his sons for being his teachers.

Fly overs of various SAAF Asset formations followed Lt General (ret) Msimang's speech.

Ly General (ret) Msimang makes his last speech.

Helicopter formation flyover.

Light Transport formation - 41 Squadron PC 12 and Caravans. Major Buti Tsebe, ex Silver Falcon, now on reserve, piloting one of the Caravans.

Astra Formation from Central Flying School, Langebaanweg.

C130's from 28 Squadron, which celebrated its 78th anniversary during the week.

The combat formation - Gripens from 2 Squadron and Hawks from 85 Combat Flying School.

Command is formally handed over and the retired CAF and new CAF salute each other.

General Mbambo gave a speech, outlining his vision and approach for the SA AirForce. Finally, he said: "LET'S GET DOWN TO BUSINESS... WE HAVE NO TIME TO WASTE!"

Three cheers for Lt General Wiseman Simo Mbambo!

Lt General Mbambo takes the salute as the new Chief of the SA Air Force.

Pilots Post wish to congratulate Lt General Mbambo and thank the SA Air Force for the invitation to cover this historic event.

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