Tuesday, January 15, 2019
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R324.6m to secure Mozambique border

This year's budget for safeguarding the South Africa Mozambique border is R324.6 million, the Ministry of Defence and Military Veterans says.

The ministry was replying to an answer by Congress of the People MP Mlindi Nhanha. The SA Army currently has three infantry companies, an engineering troop (platoon) and a battalion headquarters deployed along the border between the two countries as part of Operation Corona.

The ministry tabulates the cost of that deployment as follows:
a.R114 million for allowances.
b.R58.3 million for operating costs.
c.R73 million for B-vehicle maintenance and repair.
d.R60 milion for the establishment of communication infrastructure, and,
e.R19.3 million for the establishment and maintenance of landward base facilities.

Brigadier General “Koos” Liebenberg, the director conventional operations at the Joint Operations Division in July said Operation Corona should see the 22 companies, each mustering 165 personnel, deployed along all borders by March 2015. Liebenberg said seven companies – some 1300 troops – and two engineer troops (each of 39 “sappers”) were presently deployed. To better equip them for three-month deployments in austere environments, the companies were reinforced with military police, signals, logistics, medical and tactical intelligence personnel. Some of the latter also had Project Cytoon battlefield surveillance systems to allow for night-time observation.

To better protect troops, especially in the Kruger National Park (KNP), one member of a patrol carries a R1 7.62x51mm battle rifle instead of the more usual 5.56x45mm R4 assault rifle to protect against elephants, buffalo, lion and other aggressive animals. Another section member carried a shotgun to provide a less-than-lethal crowd control capability.

The military's Chief Director Operations, Major General Barney Hlatshwayo, in March said border security has become an important national priority. Hlatshwayo was speaking at defenceWeb’s second annual Border Control conference, where he reminded the SANDF is the lead department for safeguarding the border line, but will work alongside a multitude of other agencies. “Right now the indication is the government is willing to support the SANDF so it’s imperative we come up with appropriate plans,” he said. “I think there’s good guidance emanating from above…Operation Corona [the border safeguarding endeavour] is a priority.”

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