Ladies and gentlemen

Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to say a few words at this farewell function for Major General Mlindeni Sibango; a brother in arms and a long-time friend.

On behalf of General Sibango I wish to thank the South African National Defence Force for giving him the opportunity to serve this Country. He certainly distinguished himself and made us proud.

I have known General Sibango since the years of the then Transkei Defence Force (TDF) as he rose through the ranks.

He was one of the former commanders in the TDF that I had encouraged to study and do military courses. In fact, he was one of the strategic individuals that were chosen for training in India after Chris Hani, General Mgwebi and my trip to India to arrange training for both TDF and uMkhonto we Sizwe cadres.

General Sibango was always a willing and able student and his achievement of a master’s degree at Wits bears testimony to that.

His long-time career, and his leadership and participation in preparing our troops for deployment in peace-keeping missions on the Continent shows a man who “knew his stuff”.

In fact, I would call General Sibango a “mobile archive” of military knowledge and we cannot allow his skill and experience to go to waste just because he’s reached retirement age.

Given his background and knowledge, it’s people like him who should be recruited by the state for diplomatic missions, because they know the field and, above all, are disciplined.

In the same vein, outgoing officers such as General Sibango should seriously consider establishing an independent institution to train future leaders and managers for the military, civil service and private sector.

I cannot think of a better course developer, role-model and lecturer than General Sibango who could impart discipline, wisdom and knowledge to young South Africans.

General Sibango, you have dedicated your life to South Africa and her people. We thank you for that.

From one retired general to another, my friend, I say to you: “Welcome to the Club!”

I thank you.