Twenty years ago the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) recognised a need to replace field accommodation and water supply capabilities under Project Swatch which will be realised in totality by year-end.
A LinkedIn post by Lieutenant Colonel GG Sebogodi, personal staff officer (PSO) to the Deputy Chief Logistics, has it Project Swatch was “solely to improve living conditions of soldiers during operations to boost morale and spirit”.
The project initiated in 2001 was to deliver expandable accommodation and water related equipment for a brigade. To date the project has delivered equipment and products for a battalion plus, with more equipment expected to be delivered toward year-end.
Project Swatch is a set of mission ready deployment accommodation of tent products, basic and expandable containers. They range in size from a two to 10 man tents housing a platoon section with each soldier allocated a mini cupboard with portable table and chair, study lamp and a plug. This obviates the need to share when charging cell phones or laptops. The tents will be electrified and air-conditioned and comply with UN specifications.
Sebogodi writes: “With an increase in joint force employment requirements, externally and internally, from the Department of Defence (DoD), it was evident the delay in issuing this equipment to support operations led by Joint Operations Division could be detrimental to operations and the perceived military posture of South Africa”.
“Following deliberations exacerbated by recent unprecedented events (presumably referring to last month’s violent civil unrest), CSANDF issued a directive galvanising efforts to support Joint Operations to deliver on its joint force employment requirements. Logistics Division, Joint Operations Division and the SA Army brought together a team at Mobilisation Centre in Bloemfontein to assess delivered equipment to be issued on loan to SA Army Force Preparation in support of Joint Operations.
“Project officers and technical troops from 11 and 17 Maintenance Units trained to assemble the equipment led by Logistics Support Formation product support manager assembled the tents with Armscor personnel at the Mobilisation Centre.
“This,” the lieutenant colonel writes, “was to ensure that on arrival generals from Logistics and Joint Operations divisions and the SA Army could be given a tour of final products assembled and initial packing of equipment”.
“This,” he continues, “is a commendable milestone for the SANDF at a time when the requirement for the national defence force to bring peace and stability to South Africa and African is evidently inevitable”.