Venda Defence Force

The Venda Defence Force (VDF) was established in September 1982 from the 112 Battalion of the South African Defence Force and the military branch of the Venda National Force which itself had been formed when the Venda homeland became independent from South Africa in September 1979.

Venda Defence Force
Flag of the Venda Defence Force
Flag of the Defence Force
Founded1979
DisbandedApril 1994
Service branches1st and 2nd Battalion
Air wing
HeadquartersSibasa, Venda
Leadership
Chief of DefenseBrigadier General Ramushawana
Manpower
Military age18-49
Related articles
HistoryMilitary history of South Africa
RanksMilitary ranks of Venda

Venda Defence Force

Origin

The Venda National Force was established with Venda’s independence in 1979 and included defence and other services such as police and prisons. Strange enough, traffic policing was part of this national force, but by 1981 it was transferred to the Department of Justice. The Fire Brigade was however still part of the Venda National Force although there was plans to transfer this to the civilian government.

Development of the VDF

Colonel Gabriel Ramushwana was appointed the Chairman of the Council and Minister of Defence and National Intelligence was second in command as well as the Venda Security Police before being transferred to the VDF as Chief of Staff by State President Mphephu with the aim of his eventual succession as Chief of the VDF.

112 Battalion and One Venda Battalion

The VDF itself was formally separated from the National Force on the 27 September 1982 when the SADF’s 112 Battalion from Madimbo, part of the Soutpansberg Military Area, which was outside the Venda territory, was disbanded and re-established to form One Venda Battalion at Manenu. At that stage this battalion consisted of three companies and was to all purposes a light infantry battalion.

SADF 112 battalion emblem
SADF 112 battalion emblem

Two Venda Battalion

Two Venda Battalion was established around 1985/86 and was initially housed in temporary quarters until 1986/1987.

Air Wing

The VDF also consisted of a small air wing consisting of light helicopters (BK117s and Allouette 3) and fixed wings (CASA C-212 and Citations).

Coup

A bloodless coup occurred on 5 April 1990, the then Colonel Ramushwana was attending a SADF Army Staff Course in Pretoria. Until that date the Chief of the VDF was a seconded SADF officer, Brigadier Steenkamp, with Ramushwana as his Chief of Staff. State President Ravele was the Commander in Chief and was advised by a Security Council.

Aftermath

After the coup, Ramushwana became Chief of the VDF as well as the Chairman of the Council of National Unity. A Security Working Committee was established to replace the Security Council. The SEWOCOM consisted of:

  • Ramushwana, now a Brigadier, as chairman,
  • the Chief of Staff of the VDF, a Colonel W. Swanepoel,
  • the Senior Staff Officer intelligence,
  • the Senior Staff Officer Operations,
  • the Police Commissioner,
  • the Director General of the Venda National Intelligence,
  • the Advocate-General and
  • two other members of the Council of National Unity.

This committee dealt with all security related issues in Venda including the quality of government, since the coup followed widespread allegations of corruption and maladmistration.

Insignia

Venda Defence Force insignia-3
Venda Defence Force insignia

Ranks

Equivalent
NATO code
OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF(D) and student officer
Venda Venda
(Edit)
No equivalent
VDF Brigadier rank.jpg VDF Colonel slip on rank.jpg VDF Lt Colonel slip on rank.jpg VDF Major rank.jpg VDF Captain rank.jpg VDF Lieutenant rank.jpg VDF 2nd Lieutenant rank.jpg Unknown
Brigadier
Colonel
Lieutenant Colonel
Major
Captain
Lieutenant
2nd Lieutenant
Equivalent
NATO code
OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1
Venda Venda
(Edit)
Venda Defence Force Warrant Officer Class 1 VDF Warrant Officer class 2 rank Venda Defence Force Staff Sergeant India-Army-OR-6 No equivalent India-Army-OR-4 India-Army-OR-3 No insignia
Chief Warrant Officer
Warrant Officer
Staff Sergeant
Sergeant
Corporal
Lance Corporal
Private

Disbandment

With the end of the Apartheid era in 1994 in South Africa, the former defence forces of the Bantustans were incorporated into the newly formed South African National Defence Force.

Equipment

The VDF was equipped for counter-insurgency (COIN) operations. The VDF used:

  • R4/R5 assault rifles,
  • 7.62 mm Light Machine Gun,
  • 40 mm Multiple Grenade Launcher,
  • 60 mm and
  • 81 mm mortars
  • 7.62 mm Browning

Vehicles included:

  • Mambas,
  • Buffels,
  • Samil 20,
  • seven ton Isuzu trucks and
  • 4x4 vehicles
15 South African Infantry Battalion

15 South African Infantry Battalion is a motorised infantry unit of the South African Army.

911 Battalion (SWATF)

911 Battalion was part of the South West African Territorial Force's 91 Brigade.

Defence Forces

Defence Force(s) or Defense Force(s) is the title of the armed forces of certain countries.

Distinguished Service Medal, Gold

The Distinguished Service Medal, Gold was instituted by the President of the Republic of Venda in 1985, for award to all ranks for exceptionally meritorious service and particular devotion to duty.

Distinguished Service Medal, Silver

The Distinguished Service Medal, Silver was instituted by the President of the Republic of Venda in 1985, for award to all ranks for outstanding service and devotion to duty.

Gabriel Ramushwana

Gabriel Ramushwana (1 July 1941 – 12 January 2015) was a head of state of the Bantustan of Venda. He joined the South African Police in Welkom as a Constable in 1959 and was seconded to the SADF 112 Infantry Battalion as a Warrant Officer in 1973. He was made the CO of the 1 Venda Battalion in 1981 and the deputy commanding officer of the Venda Defence Force in 1984. On the 5th of April in 1990 he led the overthrew of the democratically elected Frank Ravele government and established a military government. Ramushwana died on 12 January 2015 at the age of 73.

Gallantry Cross, Gold

The Gallantry Cross, Gold was instituted by the President of the Republic of Venda in 1985, for award to all ranks for extreme courage or supreme bravery or valour beyond the normal call of duty.

Gallantry Cross, Silver

The Gallantry Cross, Silver, post-nominal letters GCS, was instituted by the President of the Republic of Venda in 1985, for award to all ranks for courage or bravery or valour beyond the normal call of duty.

General Service Medal (Venda)

The General Service Medal was instituted by the President of the Republic of Venda in 1985, for award to all ranks for service in defence of Venda or in the prevention or suppression of terrorism.

Independence Medal (Venda)

The Independence Medal was instituted by the President of the Republic of Venda in 1979, for award to all ranks in commemoration of the independence of Venda.

Long Service Medal, Bronze

The Long Service Medal, Bronze was instituted by the President of the Republic of Venda in 1985, for award to all ranks for ten years exemplary service.

Long Service Medal, Gold

The Long Service Medal, Gold was instituted by the President of the Republic of Venda in 1985, for award to all ranks for thirty years exemplary service.

Long Service Medal, Silver

The Long Service Medal, Silver was instituted by the President of the Republic of Venda in 1985, for award to all ranks for twenty years exemplary service.

Q Services Corps (South Africa)

The establishment of the 'Q' Services Corps as part of the South African Permanent Force was promulgated in the Government Gazette dated 10 November 1939.

South African military decorations order of wear

The first South African military medal was a campaign medal, the South Africa Medal, instituted in 1854 by Queen Victoria, the Monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, for award to officers and men of the Royal Navy and British Army who served on the Eastern Frontier of the Cape Colony between 1834 and 1853 during the Xhosa Wars.Five more South African campaign medals were instituted during the Colonial era until 1910, when the Union of South Africa was established as a dominion of the British Empire. After Union and until 1952, members of the Union Defence Forces (UDF) could be awarded decorations and medals of the British Empire and, from 1949, the British Commonwealth. A number of purely South African decorations and medals were also instituted during this period, such as belated awards for Boer forces who fought in the Second Boer War, a Union commemorative medal and South African versions of some Empire medals with bilingual inscriptions in English and Dutch or Afrikaans.The first purely South African military orders, decorations and medals were instituted in 1952 by Queen Elizabeth II, the Monarch of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth realms. From 1961 decorations and medals were instituted by the South African State President and, between 1976 and 1994, also by the Presidents of the TBVC States, Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei. These awards were instituted in seven groups for the seven separate military and para-military forces which were integrated into the South African National Defence Force in 1994.

Unitas Medal

The Unitas Medal was instituted by the President of the Republic of South Africa on 4 November 1994. It was awarded to all ranks who were on the active strength of all seven constituent military forces from 27 April 1994 to 10 May 1994, to commemorate their amalgamation into the South African National Defence Force. It was also awarded to personnel of the British Military Advisory and Training Team which served in South Africa at the time.

VDF

VDF may be an acronym for:

VHF Direction Finder

Venda Defence Force

Virginia Defense Force

FAA LID for: Tampa Executive Airport (formerly known as Vandenberg Airport)

Vinylidene difluoride, see: 1,1-Difluoroethylene

Venda

Venda () was a Bantustan in northern South Africa, which is fairly close to the South African border with Zimbabwe to the north, while to the south and east, it shared a long border with another black homeland, Gazankulu. It is now part of the Limpopo province. Venda was founded as a homeland by the South African government for the Venda people, speakers of the Venda language. The United Nations and international community refused to recognise Venda (or any other Bantustan) as an independent state.

Venda Defence Force Medal

The Venda Defence Force Medal was instituted by the President of the Republic of Venda in 1984, for award to all ranks for service of a high standard.

South African Army Units
Divisions and Brigades
Armoured Formation (SAAAF)
Infantry Formation (SAAIF)
Artillery Formation
Air Defence Artillery Formation
Engineer Formation
Training Formation
Support Formation
Signals Formation
Disbanded or Amalgamated Units

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