Final countdown to Ex Ukuthula underway


A “reduced brigade” level exercise is readying for action at the SA Army Combat Training Centre (CTC) in Northern Cape.

The field training exercise – Ukuthula (“peace” in isiZulu) – follows brigade planning exercise Amabutho (brigade in isiZulu) led by headquarters of 43 SA Brigade. It kicks off on 28 September and goes through to 27 November at the landward force’s premier training facility.

The Directorate: Corporate Communication (DCC) of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) said the exercise takes junior command staff duties (JCDS) officers “through the complex African battle space ensuring Army readiness as an integral component of its force preparation”.

The ongoing presence of COVID-19 in South Africa, as elsewhere in the world, has seen limitations on military exercises. This saw the integrated sub-unit commanders’ and JCDS’ course goers locally partake in separate exercises, rather than the customary combined one.

This approach sees those on the JCDS course working under the HQ 43 SA Brigade banner with 12 different Army units deploying 300 plus soldiers and support personnel.

Units involved are 10 Air Defence Artillery Regiment, 1 SA Infantry Battalion, 1 Special Service Battalion, 1 SA Tank Regiment, 1 Signal Regiment, 1 Tactical Intelligence Regiment, 101 Field Workshop, 16 Maintenance Unit, 8 Medical Unit, elements of the rapid deployment operations team and CTC.

Both Amabutho and Ukuthula are based on AU scenarios – 5 for peace support operations and 6 for intervention operations. According to DCC the aim is exposure to AU standard operating procedures (SOP), inter-operability in joint planning as well as AU doctrine and conduct of business.