The president of CIOR, Colonel (R) Chris Argent, along with the secretary general, Colonel (R) Adrian Walton, 22 to 26 October visited the Republic of South Africa to discuss current Reserve issues of common interest. There were meetings with senior leaders of both the regular South African National Defence Forces and the Reserve Forces.
The visit came about following an invitation from the South African Reserve Force Council (SARFC), an associate member of CIOR.
The visit coincided with the South African National Defence Forces’ (SANDF) Annual Military Competition, which is run in conjunction with SARFC, and a visit to South Africa by the UK’s Deputy Commander Field Army and senior Army Reservist, Major General Bill O’Leary.
High level meetings
During the course of the visit there were meetings with senior commanders of the South African National Defence Forces, including Chief of the Army Lieutenant General Lindile Yam, Chief of Staff of South African National Defence Forces, Lieutenant General Vusi Masondo, the Chief of Operations, South African Military Health Services, Major General Ford and Chief of Defence Reserves, Major General Roy Andersen.
Major General Andersen chaired a Special Meeting of the South African Defence Reserves Board, which the visitors attended – and at which they presented on a number of Reserve issues.
There were also extensive discussions with the hosts, Major General Keith Mokoape and Brigadier General John del Monte, chairman and vice chairman of SARFC.
In addition there was a two-day visit to the SADF Military Skills Competition at Potchefstroom in which over 250 competitors from South Africa, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Germany, United Kingdom and United States were participating. This competition closely follows the format of the CIOR Military Competition (MILCOMP) and is run by the Chairman of the CIOR MILCOMP Committee, Lieutenant Colonel Uys van der Westhuijzen.
Commenting on the visit, CIOR President Colonel (R) Chris Argent observed:
– Valuable lessons from a valued partner
– I am grateful to the South African National Defence Force and to the South African Reserve Force Council for inviting us and hosting our visit. CIOR has traditionally focussed its activities on the Northern Hemisphere and the military history, and threats that are perceived to affect NATO member countries.
– However, the military experiences and thinking of our colleagues in the Southern Hemisphere offer valuable lessons and input for us in facing the global threats, both in kinetic warfare and cyber – as well as less conventional threats that derive from nationalism, hunger and the ownership of natural resources.
– So this visit is timely to remind us we should take notice and incorporate in our thinking and vision the views of our global partners, as they challenge many of our preconceived and established ideas, the CIOR President said.