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​The defence force is one of the biggest exhibitors at the Rand Show, where its large machinery entices visitors. But there is much more to the show.
SEVERAL City departments are among hundreds of exhibitors at this year’s Rand Show, which opened with great excitement on 6 April. It runs until 15 April, at the Expo Centre, in the southwest of the city.

The JMPD stand is a favourite among childrenThe JMPD stand is a favourite among childrenThe Johannesburg metro police department (JMPD), emergency management services (EMS) and the Johannesburg Tourism Company are in Hall 6, where City departments and municipal-owned entities have been granted a large display area.

First up, closest to the entrance, is the JMPD exhibition. Modern vehicles with flashing lights and wailing sirens and roaring motorbikes attract each visitor. While there, people are told about the technologies used by the metro police to carry out their job.

Officers patiently explain things such as how speed cameras and breathalysers work to detect motorists who drive under the influence of either alcohol or drugs.

There are even activities for children, with safety the main focus. They can learn about traffic lights and road signs, do some colouring in and talk to police officers. Teenagers can get some driving lessons at the simulated car, where a programmed voice instructs them about driving. Visitors can also pay their traffic fines.

Further into the hall, there is a horrible accident between a taxi and a car. The ambulance has just arrived to treat the injured. Inside the purple BMW is a bleeding man in the driver’s seat. A woman is next to him in the passenger seat, and there is a baby in the back.

But fear not – it’s not a real accident, just a demonstration to show what can happen when drivers ignore the rules of the road. It is explained that the accident was caused by speeding. The red Siyaya taxi is beyond repair, and the driver died in a blink of an eye.

There is entertainment for everyoneThere is entertainment for everyoneIt’s a wake-up call to those who still take chances on the road, showing them what they might get themselves into.

Not far from the accident is a fully furnished shack, where visitors can learn fire safety. Puleng Moepho, the EMS’s public relations officer, is on hand to answer questions.

The main focus of the exhibition, she said, was to promote safety on the roads as well as from fires, as winter was slowly approaching. Moepho encouraged people to have a smoke alarm at least. It will detect smoke, warning people of possible fire.

“We have a campaign where we distribute alarms to vulnerable communities. Sometime in May we will be going to Zandspruit,” she added.

Over at the Johannesburg Tourism Company stand, people could see just how beautiful Jozi is. The stand offers guides of attractive tourist destinations and suggests hotels and entertainment in the city. Other exhibitions at the hall include the South African Police Service, National Youth Development Agency and many government departments.

On 6 April, the Rand Show was officially open by Sam Gulube, the secretary of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) on behalf of Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, who had other commitments. She did, however, arrive at the Rand Show for a tour in the afternoon.

In his keynote address, Gulube said that the response from the public to the SANDF’s display at the show in 2011 was outstanding. “People showed genuine interest in our exhibits,” he added.

Being part of the Rand Show, which he described as the biggest consumer show in Africa, gave the defence force an opportunity to communicate with the public. “The Rand Show is a platform for the defence force … Here people have a touch and feel experience of the technology used in the army. The facility of the expo centre makes it ideal for our demonstration.”

Sisulu also toured the SANDF exhibition area, going from tent to tent. She said being at the show gave the SANDF the opportunity to tell the public exactly what the army did.

Defence force
Members of the perform stuntsThe airforce perform stuntsAn aspirant defence force engineer, Christopher Sobiralis, who listened attentively as an officer spoke about weaponry, said he learned a lot about the work done by the SANDF and he now knew what he could expect.

The SANDF probably has the biggest exhibition area at the show. It shows the technologies it uses, and visitors are able to learn more about its major machinery. Some even get to climb inside the imposing items.

But it’s not all about the army. There are a lot of activities at the Rand Show to be enjoyed by young and old. There are exhibitions of various boats, motorbikes, furniture and other house essentials. There is a flea market for those who like shopping – in fact, there is a bit of everything for everyone.

Over at the drifting section, visitors can watch as professionals do their thing behind the wheel. For R100, they can go for a ride and be a passenger as the highly trained driver scratches tyres.

The Rand Show runs until 15 April. Tickets are available at Computicket or at the gate. They cost R80 for each for adults, R40 for pensioners over 60, R20 for children of six to 12 years and entrance is free for those under six.

Gates open each day at 9am and close at 6pm, although the show stays open until 8pm. The Johannesburg Expo Centre is on Rand Show Road, Nasrec.

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