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Air force to be reckoned with

The Ysterplaat Airforce Base (AFB) scooped the most prestige unit of the year award – the second year in a row.

The award, presented at the South African Air Force’s (SAAF) annual prestige day, is made to the best overall performing SAAF base which recognizes excellence in operations, readiness and neatness including the fitness of personnel.

From a total of seven nominations, the base bagged the top spot, featuring four times in the top three of the awards. The top three bases nominated for the award were all from the Western Cape.

Col Carl Moatshe, commanding officer of the Ysterplaat AFB, said the winning recipe for their exceptional work is based on the unity of the people.

“I speak on behalf of my team – we’re humbled and filled with so much gratitude. When I went up the stage to receive the award, being the face of my base, I could feel my people behind me. It was such a proud moment. It’s not a one-man-driven show, but a joint effort. Most of the people that are here appreciate and love what they do. I believe leadership is about the people,” Moatshe said.

Chief of the SAAF, Lt Gen Fabian Msimang, presented the award to the Ysterplaat AFB at the Swartkop Air Force Base in Pretoria which witnessed several active and retired aircraft partake in the larger than usual flypast.

Each year, the office of the Inspector General determines the prestige unit of the year in the form of a ceremonial wing review parade.

The parade celebrated the 2019 achievements of the SAAF directorates, bases, units and squadrons. The parade was preceded by the prestige awards, which also celebrated a century since the SAAF was formed.

Moatshe added that it was a proud moment to witness the SAAF’s acknowledgement of the Ysterplaat AFB.

“Ysterplaat Air Force Base is the base of the people and it’s my wish that the people of the Western Cape can adopt our base as their base of choice. We have a museum that’s open to the public and youth development programmes as well, which is the only one of its kind in the country. We are inviting the public to join the programmes we have available here. I would also wish to thank my team for their tremendous efforts and exceptional work,” he said.

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