SANDF tank

Photo: Yusuf Abramjee

SANDF slam online trolls for ‘mocking’ their vehicle mishap

They have a point, to be honest: A clip of a SANDF soldier losing control of a Rooikat vehicle went viral on Tuesday – but army officials are seething.

SANDF tank

Photo: Yusuf Abramjee

South Africans had a good giggle at video footage which spread across the net on Tuesday, showing an armoured vehicle getting one of its manoeuvres completely wrong. The driver narrowly avoided a crowd of people after the Rooikat ploughed through a fence. However, SA National Defence Force (SANDF) officials have since hit back.

SANDF rooikat vehicle smashes into fences

The footage shows a Rooikat steaming its way over a steep hill, successfully negotiating the steep gradient and briefly maintaining control. Things start well, but they don’t end that way. The army vehicle picks up an alarming amount of speed and it travels down the incline, roaring towards a panicked crowd.

It takes a sharp turn towards the temporary stands, which is holding scores of other soldiers offering support to their colleagues. However, it soon becomes a case of “every man for himself” as the Rooikat veers towards them all. It ends up breaking through a fence – only just avoiding the front row – as the machine eventually comes to stop.

SANDF officials fume at ‘online trolls’

The person behind the wheel was compared to “Mabena” – the infamous SANDF soldier who couldn’t keep up with a military drill in another clip that went viral in 2019. However, the army have issued a statement on the matter, blasting “individuals behind pseudonyms” for poking fun at our servicemen and women:

“The SANDF can confirm that the incident happened during a practice run for the Armed Forces Day 2020 Capability Demonstration at the Roodewal Bombing Range. The range is a controlled area that is utilised by SANDF personnel and equipment. There were neither injuries suffered nor damages reported.

“It is regrettable that there are individuals who hide behind pseudonyms whilst intentionally portraying the SANDF negatively by posting and or commenting adversely against it with ill intentions of casting doubts about its personnel and equipment to the unsuspecting publics.”

SANDF statement

Armed Forces Day 2020

Clearly, the army has reached the end of its tether with the alleged trolling. They will be hoping to put on a more convincing front at the Polokwane Cricket Club on Armed Forces Day, though. On Thursday, there is a static display of military equipment and a career exhibition. This also includes:

  • An arena events programme;
  • SANDF parachutists performing their landings;
  • Precision drills;
  • Motorcycle and vehicle stunts;
  • Bridge-laying;
  • Gun runs and other exhibitions of SA’s military power;
  • Mini-war demonstrations;
  • And finally, there will be a recruitment drive for citizens who want to serve their country with SANDF.