The military’s legal beagles and eagles are not only competent in court – they also have to demonstrate combat readiness via a division exercise, approved and commanded by the head of legal services in the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).
Proof the exercise is not a downscaled one to accommodate the “mouse and keyboard warriors” came in June when a Defence Legal Services Division (DLSD) staffer taking part in this year’s Exercise Mafadi “took a fall and could not continue”. She was casevaced from the Drakensberg site of the exercise to a Pietermaritzburg hospital by Air Force Base Durban-based 15 Squadron.
The cost of moving the injured DLSD staffer was revealed in an answer to a Parliamentary question posed by Freedom Front Plus (FF+) leader Pieter Groenewald. The operating expenses for the Oryx medium transport helicopter tasked for the two and a half hour mission cost R163 582.
Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula corrected Groenewald when answering his question on the DLSD exercise. He referred to the “so-called combat readiness training which comprises as hike in the Drakensberg”. Not entirely on the mark, the Minister made clear, stating Mafadi is the official field exercise at the end of the battle handling course for military law practitioners (MLPs). It is also a combat readiness exercise for the DLSD to prepare MLPs to provide legal support to operations in terms of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) legal support doctrine”.
According to the Minister the primary objective of Mafadi, a peak in the Drakensberg, is to prepare MLPs to support internal and external operations in terms of the operations legal support doctrine. “To teach them their role during joint military operations with other state departments, peacekeeping missions and in war,” the Ministerial response reads.
Mafadi also aims to enhance leadership skills and to teach important military skills including navigation, map work and radio communication.