Source: Ministry of Defence South Africa
On Tuesday, 31 May 2011, the former Chief South African National Defence Force General Godfrey Nhlanhla Ngwenya will hand over command of the South African National Defence Force to Lieutenant General (Lt Gen) Solly Zacharia Shoke. The Commander-in-Chief, President Zuma, recently appointed Lt Gen Solly Shoke as the Chief of the South African National Defence Force (CSANDF).
Lieutenant General Solly Zacharia Shoke was born on 15 August 1956 in Alexander Township. He completed his school career in Orlando High School. Lieutenant General Shoke obtained a Diploma in Human Resources Management from Damelin, a Certificate in Defence Management from the University of the Witwatersrand and a Certificate in Personnel Management from IPM.
He held several command posts in starting as a Unit Commissar and later becoming a Commander in the Transvaal Urban Machinery of Umkhonto we Sizwe. He later became part of the National underground leadership during operation “Vula”. Lieutenant General Shoke was the National Co-ordinator for the Peace Process during the negotiations and was also part of the work groups that facilitated integration of the Armed Forces.
Lieutenant General Shoke received general training in Angola and did the Brigade Commanders Course in the USSR. He completed the Intermediate Staff Course in 1993/1994 in Zimbabwe. In 1995/1996 he did the Senior Command and Staff Course at the SA Army College and the Joint Staff Course in 1998.
In April 1994 he was appointed as the Director Personnel Planning of the SA Army. In January 1997 he was appointed as the Director Integration. He was the Director Personnel Acquisition from January 1999 to October 2000 when he was promoted to the rank of Major General as the Chief Director Human Resources Support. In June 2004 Lieutenant General Shoke was appointed as the Chief of the South African Army.
One of the highlights of his career was when he became the Mission Commander for the SADC Forces in Lesotho in 1998 to 1999.
Lieutenant General Shoke is married to Charlotte and has four children. He speaks 9 languages and he is fond of golf and soccer.