SA Army Air Defence
Artillery School Inaugurates its 6th Officer
Commanding, 9 March 2017, Kimberley
Lieutenant Marumo Machete, SA Army Corporate
Photographs by Candidate Officer Dave Moreroa,
Air Defence Artillery School
As the early sun rays shone on the grounds of
Air Defence Artillery School in Kimberley on the
morning of 9 March 2017, it became apparent that
the winds of change were once again blowing at
this premier Air Defence Artillery Centre of
Training Excellence with gunners finalizing
preparations for the change of command parade.
Situated in the Northern Cape’s Diamond City of
Kimberley, Air Defence Artillery School is
tasked with force preparation of a ground-based
air defence capability in the SA Army and is
thus an apex corps training institution of the
SA Army Air Defence Artillery formation.
Air Defence Artillery School and the
neighbouring 10 Anti-Aircraft Regiment were a
hive of activity as gunners eagerly put the last
touches to what was to become a memorable Change
of Command Parade that would give the ADA Corps
an opportunity to showcase its unity of action
and a commitment to the gunners’ time honoured
tradition of honouring their own in pursuit of a
collective future steeply grounded on a rich
history and allegiance to the Corps.
This was of course going to be the sixth Handing
and Taking Over Parade at Air Defence Artillery
School following the unit’s establishment in
2000 as an entity on its own, separate entirely
from 10 Anti-Aircraft Regiment and it was
Colonel Lufuno Mafune’s turn to take over the
reins of command from his predecessor Colonel
Leon Puckree, who has been at the helm since his
ascension taking over from Brigadier Generals
Sandile Hlongwa, now General Officer Commanding
the Formation in 2015.
Colonell Mafune becomes the sixth Commanding
Officer of ADA School since 2000.
An hour before midday, a 10 Anti-Aircraft
Battery in Review garbed in full ceremonial
patties and cravat and preceded by men and women
from Army Band Kroonstad marched onto the Air
Defence Artillery School parade ground signaling
the beginning of the day’s official festivities.
Commanded by the all-female team of Major
Nicolene Oosthuizen and her parade Sergeant
Major, Warrant Officer 2 Kelebogile Motsamai,
the gunners of Kimberley proudly strode their
sharp drills to honour the outgoing Officer
Commanding while welcoming the incoming.
Addressing the parade as main functionary,
Colonel Puckree thanked the General Officer
Commanding Air Defence Artillery Formation,
Brigadier General Hlongwa for having confidence
and entrusting him with the mammoth
responsibility of leading the unit.
He also poured his heart out to ordinary members
of his unit and those from sister unit, 10
Anti-Aircraft Regiment for their support
throughout his stewardship.
Colonel Puckree highlighted the importance of
unity of action focused on attaining the unit’s
force preparation objective, a phenomenon he
witnessed while Officer Commanding.
“The bloodline of any military unit is embedded
in the actions of the unit’s junior leaders, the
management of its middle managers and the
precise and correct directions and support from
its top structure,” Colonel Puckree said.
He added that under his command, with the
tireless contribution of all members of both Air
Defence Artillery School, the contribution of 10
Anti-Aircraft Regiment gunners and guidance of
Air Defence Artillery Formation, the unit
managed to “effectively conduct major Army
events with seamless success.” The events
included the 2015 SA Army Fittest Soldier
Competition and the Extended Army Command Cadre
Conference in 2016.
Col Puckree urged Air Defence Artillery School
members to rally behind the incoming Officer
Commanding, Colonel Mafune in making the
finalization of the unit’s relocation to Ermelo,
Mpumalanga, a success.
Plans to relocate Air Defence Artillery School
have been set in motion a few years ago and the
unit is now in the final stages of the movement
process, a phase expected to be completed under
Delivering his welcoming address at a function
following the parade, Colonel Mafune commended
his predecessor for the manner in which he
handled the change of command transition.
Colonel Mafune, a former Umkhonto we Sizwe
cadre, seasoned gunner, trainer and commander
who went through the ranks as an Air Defence
Artillery officer, went on to point out the
seriousness and importance with which he
considers his appointment as Officer Commanding
saying: “As I accept this mammoth
responsibility, I do so with a great sense of
humility and commitment to serve. I recognise
that my appointment here is not meant for
personal gratification, but for the sole purpose
of serving the best interests of my corps, the
mighty SA Army Air Defence Artillery.”
The incoming Officer Commanding Air Defence
Artillery School reiterated Colonel Puckree’s
confidence in the commitment of his unit’s
members and that of other Air Defence Artillery
units and Formation’s Headquarters to rally
around the same goals.
“As I ascend the highest position of authority
here at Air Defence Artillery School, I am well
aware that I stand on the shoulders of giants
who came before me and served in this capacity
with aplomb. I stand firm knowing that I have
the support of a great team of soldiers; gunners
with the attitude, skill and determination to
strive for success and excellence no matter the
challenges that lie ahead,” Air Defence
Artillery Mafune said.
The Officer Commanding Air Defence Artillery
School challenged all gunners to put their
shoulders to the wheel and maintain the unit as
a premier provider of top notch ground-based Air
Defence Artillery training.
“As we commit to take Air Defence Artillery
School to greater heights, I cannot
overemphasise the importance of integrity,
unquestionable military discipline, patriotism,
a commitment to serve and respect for fellow
soldiers regardless of rank. These are the
values that will propel us towards realising our
vision of being an SA Army Air Defence Artillery
Centre of Excellence,” Colonel Mafune concluded.
The pomp and ceremony was followed at the
after-parade function by the Tswelopele
Correctional Services entertainment band that
belted covers of contemporary local hits as well
as taking guests through the memory lane with
offerings from their wide music catalogue.
Among those in attendance were 5 Army General
Officers, the host and General Officer
Commanding Air Defence Artillery Formation,
Brigadier General Sandile Hlongwa, former Air
Defence Artillery Formation General Officer
Commanding and now Chief Director Defence
Material Acquisition Management and soon to be
Chief Logistics, Major General Jabu Mbuli,
General Officer Commanding SA Army Infantry
Formation, Major General Rudzani Maphwanya,
Chief Director Human Resources Management, Major
General Catherine Motlhabane.
Air Defence Artillery School conducts 25 to 26
accredited learning programmes as part of its
mandate to train a credible, cohesive joint air
defence artillery capability for the SA Army.