SELEBI-PHIKWE: South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and Botswana Defence Force (BDF) who participated in this year's interformation shooting competition went an extra mile and embarked on an outreach programme.
They donated toiletry and blankets to the needy.
The outreach programme, which was an initiative of soldiers themselves, targeted vulnerable groups. The army men raised an amount of P10,500 and liaised with the Department of Social Welfare, who assisted in identifying 30 beneficiaries from the villages of Damuchujenaa, Mmadinare and Tobane.
Shooting coordinator, Colonel Joseph Mathambo said the soldiers’ initiative demonstrated that they were not only into peacekeeping, but also went an extra mile to restore the dignity of members of the society.
Handing over the hampers to the beneficiaries, Selebi Phikwe Mayor, Molosiwa Molosiwa applauded the gesture by soldiers saying gone were the days when people from the military were perceived as enemies. He added that the SANDF and BDF demonstrated that they were human and consequently responsive to other people’s needs. For his part Colonel Monyatsi Rammele said a competition of this nature where neighbours meet to test their weaponry skills is commendable and should be encouraged in order to enhance brotherhood.
He said gone were the days when neighbouring forces were regarded as adversaries, but now are there for each other and for common objectives.
Brigadier Joseph Seelo said the competition that brought the countries together did not only provide an opportunity to sharpen their military skills, but also inculcated the team spirit.
“It is for the second time that SANDF has participated in the shooting competition.
We value this partnership and we will continue to nurture the cordial relations that exist between our two sister countries,” he said. Brigadier Seelo was delighted that the shooting competition was incident-free. He was impressed that more women participated in the competition, which resulted in two of them being declared marksmen.
He said this is despite the fact that women are relatively new in the BDF. He noted that shooting runs in the blood of every soldier and if it does not, then one is in the wrong profession. “We are paid to be masters of the weapon as entrusted on us by the government,” he said.
He noted that every year the two countries hold bilateral meetings to evaluate and strengthen their joint initiatives.
“We collaborate in a lot of activities as evidenced by the joint patrols we carry out between our countries. It is our aim to produce more marksmen annually through our shooting competitions,” he added.