I am very proud to be serving as the 21st Commandant of the South African Military Academy. On assumption of command on 12 March 2021 I revised thecore values of the South African Military Academy as follows:
Dignity - How we treat others
Integrity - How we conduct ourselves
Service before Self - Finding honour is placing our nation’s interests ahead of our own
Accountability - Acting morally and ethically, adhering to codes of conduct, regulations, policy and instructions
I am privileged to serve in an organization that has at its foundation a concrete set of core values. These four core values form the foundation of my personal leadership philosophy. Further, the premise of my leadership philosophy is that every member of the Unit also understands and holds these core values dear. As such, these values should define you, the people that I serve and lead.
But why is this value system important? Simplified, this value system is an ‘agreement’ that we have between ourselves as individuals wrt how we treat each other and how we approach our vocation. These values should be used to calibrate, and they should regulate all interpersonal relationships.
As Commandant and Senior Leader, I accept that mission success starts with me. As such, I have derived personal behaviours and expectations that flow from, and support the Unit’s value system. These behaviours and expectations are as follows:
I will Lead by Example. My personal conduct and behaviour will at all times be beyond reproach. Others will take their lead from the example I set. In order to achieve mission success I rely on your support and feedback.
I will strive to create a “Can Do” and “Just Do It” Culture within my Sphere of Influence. I believe that all airmen, soldiers and sailors desire to do what needs to be done to ensure mission success. It is my responsibility to ensure that my leadership style creates the conditions and environment for you to do so. I will create this enabling environment by working closely with higher authorities, government organizations, non-governmental organizations and all members of this Unit.
I will strive for Excellence in all that I do. Our Unit vision, namely “A leader in professional military higher education, training and development” is the required end state. I expect that everyone will work diligently towards mission success as we strive towards our vision. Many and diverse tasks will be expected from me and as such will not always be regulated by doctrine, rules, regulations or publications. However, I commit to always applying my mind to whatever challenges may arise with the explicit aim of ensuring mission success while always keeping your wellbeing and that of this Unit paramount.
I expect members to act in a Competent and Disciplined manner. Within the enabling environment that I will foster at the Military Academy, I expect that we will all execute our duties and responsibilities in a professional, competent, diligent, timely and disciplined manner. We shall not tolerate ill-discipline, sexism, religious intolerance, racism, intimidation, victimization, violence or blatant and gross incompetence.
Brigadier General A.J. de Castro
Commandant, Military Academy