35 Regiment under new command

Lt Col Samson Mbonani took over the reigns of officer commanding from Col Gerrit Janse van Vuuren at 35 Engineer Support Regiment in Dunnottar.

Col Janse van Vuuren has been the officer commanding of this regiment for the past seven-and-a-half years and handed over command to Lieutenant Colonel Samson Mbonani at a ceremony held at the base.

Col Janse van Vuuren says there is a time to come and a time to go, and it is now his time to go.

He adds he enjoyed his reign as officer commanding at this regiment and feels honoured to have worked with great soldiers and civilians.

“My time here had its ups and downs, but luckily there were a lot more ups than downs,” he says.

The procedure started at 10am with a parade at the Dunnottar Military Base sports grounds.

The parade saluted the outgoing commander while marching past the podium.

The incoming commander Lt Col Mbonani received the scroll and read from it his acceptance as commanding officer.

Lt Col Mbonani was welcomed with a salute.

As from February 1, Col Janse van Vuuren has been appointed Chief of Staff SA Army Engineer Formation in Pretoria, after being promoted from Lt Col to Col at the beginning of the year.

“I have a good relationship with Lt Col Mbonani and will be there if need be,” he says.

He believes being officer commanding of the regiment has prepared him for his current post and always believed that if the personnel was happy, 80% of the task was already completed.

His final wish to Lt Col Mbonani is “Best of luck, you are taking over a brilliant unit with great personnel.”

The families of both men attended the proceedings.

The wife of the outgoing commanding officer Elmarie Janse van Vuuren, says it is sad to say goodbye, as these people were like family.

But the new officer commanding is overwhelmed and delighted to be appointed to this post.

“It is a huge honour,” he says.

His partner Hellen and youngest son Themba, as well as his eldest brother David Mbonani attended the procedures.

David says he is very emotional as his brother came a long way, and faith brought him where he is today.

He adds his brother loves his family very much and always “puts them first, but is also a dedicated man and a hard worker”.

“Everything that happens to Samson is because of his faith in God and I believe faith is for today and brings hope for tomorrow,” says David.

The parade finished and invited guests moved to the mess where everyone enjoyed something to drink and some snacks.

  AUTHOR
Anna Robertson
Journalist

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