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Acting CAF, Major General Mzayifani Buthelezi at the Young Falcon awards.

Acting CAF officiates at Young Falcons awards event

Date: 29 October 2020

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A Young Falcons development awards ceremony in KwaZulu-Natal was the first public appearance by Major General Mzayifani Buthelezi since being named acting SA Air Force (SAAF) chief.

When previous CAF Lieutenant General Zakes Msimang’s term ended with a retreat parade at AFB Swartkop on 30 September, he said his deputy “as per tradition” takes charge. There has – to date – been no announcement of a new CAF. This prompted at least one military analyst to point to a lack of succession planning in the senior ranks of the SA National Defence Force’s (SANDF) four services – air force, army, military health and navy. There has, as yet, been no official announcement of Buthelezi’s appointment as acting CAF but he is acknowledged as such in a SAAF Linked In posting on the KZN Young Falcons awards event.

Speaking at the Young Falcons awards Buthelezi said: “The Young Falcons camp deployed air force pilots, engineers, regimental instructors, firemen and technicians with the mission to uphold the vision of shaping the character of future leaders – the learners – into focused and direction filled ladies and gentlemen,” according to the post by Captain Lebo Modiselle.

“The General further said ‘Going forward into this partnership with the Department of Education, we look forward to continuing directing this vision of building our youth to all nine provinces’. Outstanding provinces are Limpopo, Northern Cape and Mpumalanga in showcasing our air force capabilities to nourish technical interest and growth with learners.”

As SAAF deputy chief sixty-three-year-old Buthelezi was responsible for preparing and supporting combat ready air assets as well as “inculcating a culture of discipline and adherence to the Code of Conduct” and developing the managing the air force business plan. Prior to his appointment as deputy chief Buthelezi did a tour of duty at SAAF Air Command and prior to that was director: air transport and maritime systems.

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