SANDF tank

Photo: Yusuf Abramjee

Watch: SANDF tank almost ploughs through crowd during exercise

There was a lucky escape for these soldiers during a SANDF military drill this week, after a runaway Rooikat caused havoc in a training exercise.

SANDF tank

Photo: Yusuf Abramjee

Do we have Mabena at the wheel, here? Footage of an SA National Defence Force (SANDF) exercise has gone viral on social media, after the driver of a Rooikat armoured fighting vehicle almost rammed the vehicle into dozens of horrified onlookers.

This week marks the official celebrations for the capabilities of our armed forces: The army, navy and air force are all putting on displays in Polokwane, as South Africa flexes its military muscle. However, one feels that this clip won’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of our enemies.

SANDF drill goes wrong

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 tank veers towards them all. It ends up breaking through a fence – only just avoiding the front row – as the machine eventually comes to stop.

Watch the SANDF Rooikat driving incident here:

Despite a few giggles – and sighs of exasperation – the majority of social media users have actually been pretty kind to the driver-in-training. Many have taken the tone of “mistakes happen”, suggesting that these kind of exercises are in place so SANDF recruits can learn. If anything, the reactions has been mainly wholesome:

Tito Mboweni makes an appearance

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni was also in attendance at the Polokwane Defence Exhibition. With his budget speech for 2020 on the horizon, the Cabinet member may have been weighing up how much money he needs to put into SANDF. Hopefully, he’s put something aside for more driver training…