SA Armour gets new Officer Commanding

Incoming General Officer Commanding SA Army Armour Formation Brig. Gen. Fezile Mbotyi and Outgoing General Officer Commanding SA Army Armour Formation Brig. Gen. André Retief. Photo: Jeretha Oosthuizen

Interested parties gathered in large numbers at the Tempe Army Base in Bloemfontein today to bid farewell to the outgoing General Officer Commanding in the SA Amour Formation, Brig. Gen. André Retief, and to welcome the incoming General Officer Commanding, Brig. Gen. Fezile Mbotyi.

Retief was born in Benoni in 1958 and matriculated in 1976. He then went on to join the SADF as a recruit and graduated as an armour officer at the end of the same year. He served at 2 Special Service Battalion from 1978 to 1980.

Between 1981 and 1990 he was at the School of Armour where he presented armoured car training, support troop training as well as other tank courses. From 1991 to 1994 he served as Staff Officer at the Directorate of Armour at the Army Headquarters in Pretoria. From 1995 he served as an instructor as the SA Army College and became the Chief Instructor at the Junior Command and Staff Duties Branch in 1996.

Large numbers were gathered at the Tempe Army Base in Bloemfontein. Photo: Jeretha Oosthuizen

During the years he underwent more training and also qualified in various positions. He was appointed as Officer Commanding of School of Armour in 1996. He was appointed as Chief of Staff on 1 January 2012, and on 24 January he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General and appointed as General Officer Commanding.

“I feel humbled and a deep appreciation for those who worked so hard to make the day special. Referring to a movie by Brad Pitt, I can say, this is the best job I ever had. I enjoyed it thoroughly and appreciate all the opportunities. I am proud to have served in the Army Community.”

Brig Gen Mbotyi was born in Hofmeyr in  1961 and matriculated in 1982. In 1983 he left the country to join uMkhonto We Sizwe in Lesotho. In 1984 he underwent basic military training in Angola. In 1993 he was called by MK to serve on the MK Battalion. In March 1995 he reported to the School of Armour and served as captain from 1997-1999. He was promoted and transferred to 1 SA Rank Regiment Commander of A Squadron in 1999.

Over the years Mbotyi also achieved greatness and completed various special training and forces. – Jeretha Oosthuizen