KZN Op Chariot deployment to end in September


The deployment of military personnel in the wake of April’s devastating floods in KwaZulu-Natal is set to end in mid-September according to Major General Sandile Hlongwa, General Officer Commanding Joint Operations Headquarters.

The two-star and a four-strong entourage of lieutenant colonels visited badly affected areas in the province where uniformed personnel, mostly from the SA Army Engineer Formation and SA Military Health Service (SAHMS), have and are the driving force behind what Hlongwa termed “quick impact projects”.

These include water provision, rehabilitating roads and bridges as well as mop-up operations. On the list of project sites visited was Inanda, where a water sachet plant is operational; Hazelmere Dam to inspect the Sapper-provided bottling plant as well as La Mercy, where a Works Formation unit is part of a bridge rebuilding effort, and the M4 highway.

When torrential rain struck the province four months ago, the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) in line with a standing commitment to assist in times of natural disasters, said up to 10 000 uniformed personnel would be deployed to KwaZulu-Natal. Exact numbers have not been made public with only Works Formation units from KwaZulu-Natal, Sapper and infantry units (regular and Reserve Force) as well as SAMHS and SA Air Force (SAAF) assets known to be working Chariot assets.

At one stop on his visit, Hlongwa told uniformed personnel: “The calamity in KwaZulu-Natal was extensive. We are the SANDF and we stand for the people of this country. Let the peoples’ need be your driving force, your efforts are appreciated”.

“Tackle one project at a time, understand the objective and importantly – insist on quality,” Major Mpho Mathebula quotes Hlongwa as telling Sappers and Works Formation artisans and their colleagues with specialist road building skills.