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South African Army Flags (2002 - 2003)

Last modified: 2006-03-11 by bruce berry
Keywords: commando |
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image by Martin Grieve, 25 Jan 2006

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Commando flag

The Commando Units of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) served as adjuncts to the regular armed forces since they were established in 1970. However, President Mbeki announced in his State of the Nation Address in 2005 that the Commandos are going to be disbanded.

The Commandos (in their latest incarnation) were essentially intended as an area-bound "Home and Hearth" rear protection light infantry force. Given the concept of the "Total Onslaught" strategy of the 1970s and 1980s this did at times appear as a white versus black colonial type conflict though. Some Commandos did see duty on the border of the former South West Africa or were converted to conventional light infantry battalions.

All Commando Units are now in the process of closing down.

The flag used by the Commandos has a green background containing a saffron saltire with a white fimbriation. Green and yellow have been the corporate colours of the SANDF, and its predecessors, from World War I.

It is thought that the saltire motif was based on the Voortrekker flag used in the 19th century which was a blue flag with a red saltire and was the national flag of the Transvaal for a short period.

The flag was originally intended to be the only flag flown by the Commandos but in the 1970s there was a flurry of individual flags designed and registered for the different Commandos Units throughout the country. There are very few that currently do not have their own flag.
Bruce Berry, 25 Jan 2006