The late Chief of Logistics of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and member of the Military Command, Lieutenant General Bongani Isidore Mbatha will be accorded a funeral with full military honours.
President Jacob Zuma has once again extended his heartfelt condolences to the family of General Mbatha (whose Mkhonto weSizwe pseudonym was Theletso Sekgapane), who sadly passed on last week.
The funeral service will take place on 13 May 2015 at Thaba Tshwane Military Sports Club, Pretoria, at 10am. The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula will deliver the eulogy on behalf of President Zuma.
“Gen Mbatha was an accomplished soldier, patriot and a distinguished veteran of the liberation struggle. We are still shocked at his untimely passing. We have lost a committed, dedicated, hardworking and highly regarded freedom fighter and soldier. He was a true patriot whose departure leaves a huge vacuum as we work to build a better South Africa for all. We extend our deepest condolences to his family, colleagues, former comrades in Mkhonto weSizwe (MK) and friends”, said President Zuma.
Gen Mbatha was born in Johannesburg on 5 September 1957. He attended school at Morris Isaacson in Soweto, where he became involved in student politics and in planning and executing with others the 1976 students uprising. Later, he matriculated at Alexander High School. Because of the political situation, he left the country through Swaziland to Mozambique in 1978 to join Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the military wing of the African National Congress (ANC).
In Mozambique, he first interacted with President Zuma, who was his political commissar at that time, where he was stationed at Matola transit camp. From there he proceeded to Quibaxe, Angola, where he underwent basic military training. After completion of his basic training, he was selected for training in specialised weapons in the then German Democratic Republic (GDR), formally East Germany.
Upon his return from GDR, he was deployed to Caculama in Eastern Angola, where he was a Physical Training Instructor under the command of General Godfrey Nhlanhla Ngwenya, alias Bra T. There, he became involved in military operations protecting MK bases that were constantly under threat of attack by the rebel UNITA movement who were supported by the erstwhile apartheid South African Defence Force (SADF).
He was redeployed to Luanda, the capital city of Angola, to work at the Logistics Headquarters of MK. Owing to his intense understanding of logistics, he was appointed the Head of the Logistics Section based in the coastal city of Benguela in the Southern Highlands of Angola.
From Benguela, he later returned to Luanda where he served in the Shipping and Clearing Section of the Logistics HQ. There, they came under the attack of UNITA rebels while returning from the harbour. They ferociously fought back and repelled the attack from the rebels. During the withdrawal of MK forces from Angola, he remained in that country, and was responsible for overseeing the assets of the ANC.
He was repatriated to South Africa in 1993 where he was seconded by the ANC to a committee charged with the responsibility of collecting weapons from the former liberation forces members countrywide, as mandated by the Transitional Executive Council (TEC), which was part of the forum dealing with the negotiations.
General Mbatha was integrated into the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in 1994 where he underwent Bridging Training, All Arms Battle Training, the Senior Command and Staff Duties Course and the Executive National Security Programme, whereafter he was awarded the symbol ENSP.
Upon integration, he went through the ranks of the SANDF from Major, and served as a Logistics Officer at 4 South African Infantry (4 SAI). He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and served as a Log Officer under the late Gen Kobe. Then he was promoted to the rank of Colonel and served as the Officer Commanding (OC) of the same unit. As a Brigadier General, he served as Director Supply Services Support Management (DSSSM).
Later, Gen Mbatha was transferred to the SA Army and served as Director Army Logistics (DAL). He was then promoted to the rank of Major General and served as Chief Director Force Structure. In 2014, he was promoted to a Lieutenant General responsible for SANDF Logistics as Chief of Logistics.
Issued by: The Presidency
Source : South African Government