Probably the best illustration of the national defence force being a government instrument for the execution of policy comes from South Africa’s northernmost province where 43 SA Brigade is currently busy with jungle and urban warfare training ahead of deployment to the Democratic Republic of Congo under Operation Mistral.
Training at Entabeni near Thohoyandou in Limpopo started on 22 February and is scheduled to finish on 22 March for a motorised infantry company. It is in line with directives regarding mission readiness training or employment, according to Captain Ntsoaki Emily Ramolula, Acting Staff Officer 2 for the brigade. Training is aimed at ensuring a quick reaction force (QRF) is properly prepared for continental deployment as part of MONUSCO’s Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
As with past preparatory exercises (currently not an option due to the COVID-19 pandemic) and training, the current round at what is one of two jungle warfare training areas used by the SA Army has as at its core the 43 SA Brigade motto “Don’t Tell Me – Show Me”.
This is worked into all training objectives ranging from vehicle and foot patrols (in rural and urban areas) through to jungle warfare orientation, platoon offensive battle drills, fighting in a built-up area, jungle warfare standard operating procedures, river crossings, GPS navigation, shooting, field craft, advanced UAV training, mass evacuation and casualty handling as well as base protection.
Elements of both the airborne and medical services of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) are integral to the training with helicopters crews of both Agusta A109 and Oryx aircraft gaining trooping and other experience. SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) corps men and women gain first-hand knowledge of dealing with injuries in on-the-ground situations.