Lieutenant-General Sipho Binda served his country until his last day, when he succumbed to injuries sustained in a car accident on November 10.
Binda was born on July 13 1952 to the late Moses and Christina Binda. He was the fifth of eight children.
He was admitted at One Military Hospital after the road accident and died four days later, after suffering a heart attack.
Binda attended Sekano Ntoane High School in Soweto and enrolled for a BCom degree at Unisa after finishing his matric.
Binda's military career started in 1977 when he went into exile to join Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the ANC.
Binda rose quickly through the ranks until he became a camp commander and later a regional chief engineer.
In 1983 the South African Congress of Trade Unions recruited Binda as its coordinator of internal operations.
The ANC sent him on a mission to South Africa and in 1984 he was arrested. Binda was jailed on Robben Island, where he was held until he was released as part of the general amnesty in 1990.
After his release Binda joined Cosatu. He played a major role in the amalgamation of a number of public sector unions that were based in the bantustans at the time. The amalgamation led to the formation of the National Education, Health and Allied Worker's Union.
Binda's appointments as a member of the SANDF include director of transport, deputy chief of joint operations, chief director joint support management, general officer commanding logistics support formation, force commander African mission in Burundi, and chief of joint support in 2004.
In 1994 Binda obtained a certificate in defence management from the University of Duty Course at the South African Army College.
In 1998 he obtained a postgraduate certificate in defence studies at the Royal College and Defence Studies in the UK.
He was also chairman of the Diplomacy, Intelligence, Defence and Trade Education and Training Authority.
Binda is survived by his wife Irene, son Nhlanhla, daughter Nonkululeko and grandchildren Nkanyezi, Nolwandle and Amandla.
Binda will be buried tomorrow at Avalon Cemetery at noon.
The service will be held at the University of Johannesburg's Soweto campus, starting at 9am.