Following an August demonstration at the Department of Defence (DoD) mobilisation centre in Free State, a 20 year field accommodation project is complete with a working system up and operational at 5 SA Infantry Battalion.
Project Swatch to supply expandable field accommodation and related items including ablution, storage of goods ranging from ammunition through to rations and medical supplies, first saw the light of day in 2001.
The finished project components currently are part of the “furniture” at the infantry battalion’s Ladysmith headquarters. SA Soldier, the official SA National Defence Force (SANDF) publication, reports the new transportable addition to quartermaster stores’ inventory will support soldiers on peace support operations or conventional warfare.
“The project is the brainchild of Chief: Logistics Lieutenant General Jabulani Mbuli and was funded by CArmy, Lieutenant General Lawrence Mbatha,” according to SA Soldier.
The focus of Swatch, its programme officer Lieutenant Colonel Dennis Khumalo told the publication, is to provide transportable – and durable – “camping systems” for use in deployments less than eight weeks long.
The system utilises canvas tented products, expandable containers for water storage, ablution and laundry use; waste management; cooling and storage as well as offices for clerks, paymasters and other administrative functions.
In addition to showers, basins and toilets, the ablution component is fitted with holding cells for military justice system offenders ahead of court appearances or transfers to other holding facilities.
Some containers are insulated and fitting with “cooling systems”, presumably air conditioning, to be used for ammunition and explosives.
“The new system,” SA Soldier writes, “recognises the hardship of deployment and the difficulty operational soldiers experience trying to keep neat and tidy. The new system helps transcend the physical and environmental challenges of deployment, allowing soldiers to operate effectively at all times with limited disturbance – especially in countries such as Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Sudan”.