Fabian Msimang

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Fabian Zimpande Msimang
Nickname(s) Zakes
Born (1960-09-01) 1 September 1960 (age 57)
Johannesburg, South Africa
Allegiance  South Africa
Service/branch  South African Air Force
Rank Lieutenant General
Commands held

Lieutenant General[2] Fabian Zimpande "Zakes" Msimang (born 1 September 1960,[3] Johannesburg) is a South African military commander and the Chief of the South African Air Force.

He left South Africa with his family at the age of 6 months and went into exile.[3] He completed his secondary schooling in India. In 1983 he was sent to Tanzania to assist with the opening of the ANC Development Centre.[4]

Air Force career[edit]

He received his flying training at Frunze 1 Central Officers Training Center - Kirghizstan, in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics from 1986 to 1991. He graduated from the institution with a diploma in Command & Tactics of Military Aviation.[5]

He has been a member of the Umkhonto WeSizwe (MK), the military wing of the African National Congress and saw combat[citation needed] in Angola in 1986. In 1994, he completed the Air Force Junior Staff Course in Zimbabwe before integrating into the South African National Defence Force.[6]

He was appointed assistant project officer on Project Flange (the acquisition programme of the Agusta A109) in Italy where he also completed the Senior Staff Course at the Italian Air Force War School. On his return from Italy, Msimang was then appointed Officer Commanding of the Helicopter Flying School at Air Force Base Bloemspruit.[7]

In 2005, he was appointed officer commanding Air Force Base Bloemspruit and promoted to the rank of colonel. In 2006, he completed the Executive National Security Programme at the South African National Defence College. In June 2007, after a two-and-a-half-year tour as officer commanding Air Force Base Bloemspruit, he was appointed director of helicopter systems and promoted to the rank of brigadier general at the Air Command.[6]

In November 2010, he was appointed chief director of air policy and plans and promoted to the rank of major general responsible for Air Force strategy, policies, capabilities and resource allocation.[6]

Msimang became the Chief of the Air Force on 1 October 2012.[8]

Aircraft flown[edit]

Awards and Decorations[edit]

The following have been awarded to Gen Msimang:[6]:Image

Proficiency Awards[edit]

SANDF Qualification Pilots Wings 0-500 hrs badge embossed.png Pilots Wings (0-500 hrs) badge


  1. ^ "Msimang new CAF". DefenceWeb. 2012-06-18. Retrieved 2012-08-01. 
  2. ^ "LT GEN MSIMANG READY FOR TAKE-OFF". af.mil.za. 
  3. ^ a b "New Year - New Beginnings at Air Force Base Bloemspruit" (PDF). Ad Astra (1): 13. 2005. 
  4. ^ Greebe, Hanrie (2007). "The driving force behind a successful base" (PDF). Ad Astra. 1: 7. 
  5. ^ "Appointment of new Chief of the South Africa Air Force". Af.mil.za. 2012-06-19. Retrieved 2012-08-01. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Chief of the Air Force". South African Air Force. Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  7. ^ "NEW AIR FORCE CHIEF APPOINTED". e-tools.co.za. 19 June 2012. Retrieved 1 August 2012. [permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "Lt General Msimang Takes Over Command Of SAAF". 
  9. ^ Helfrich, Kim (19 June 2012). "Helicopter Pilot and ex-MK cadre appointed new SA Air Force chief". The New Age. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Carlo Gagiano
Chief of the South African Air Force
2012 – current
Preceded by
Lucky Ngema
Chief Director Air Policy & Plans SAAF
2010 – 2012
Succeeded by
Cedric Masters
Preceded by
RC Johnson
OC AFB Bloemspruit
2005 – 2006
Succeeded by
H Treunicht
Preceded by
Johnny Laing
OC 87 Helicopter Flying School SAAF
2004 – 2005
Succeeded by