Own transport now in service for Op Corona rotations


Working with what one has is an oft-used term in the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) with at least one component going as far as application.

The component is the Joint Operations Division which used only military transport for the last two Operation Corona rotations.

The conventional operations directorate of the Centurion-headquartered division, under the command of Brigadier General Gerald Pharo, reports in the latest division newsletter rotation of troops took two months and was “challenging”. This was because available bus transport was twice rerouted to assist in transporting forces for Operation Prosper taskings.

Vehicles used to move troops and equipment to bases on South Africa’s land borders with Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe came from Joint Ops HQ fleet, including new buses as well as buses from the SA Army Logistic Support Formation. Samil trucks from the landward force’s support formation made up the balance of the wholly in-house transport fleet.

The new deployment sees 13 units on border protection duties until mid-year. They are 4 Artillery Regiment, 21 and 2 SAI battalions (Limpopo); 7 SAI, Oliver Tambo Regiment and Barney Molekwane Intelligence Unit (Mpumalanga); 121 SAI and General Jan Smuts Regiment (KwaZulu-Natal); 5 SAI (Eastern Cape); Chief Langalibalele Rifles (Northern Cape); Tshwane Regiment (North West) and 5 SAI and SAASIC (SA Army Specialist infantry Capability) in Free State.

The use of in-house transport for the internal rotation contrasts with that employed by the SA Army mobilisation centre at De Brug in Free State.

Troop transport to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from South Africa now sees troops travelling by chartered bus from the mobilisation centre to OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) in Ekurhuleni. Here the next rotation for the RSABATT (Republic of South Africa Battalion) component of MONUSCO’s force intervention brigade (FIB) boards a civilian airliner bound for Goma in the eastern DRC. Rotations were previously done using the nearby Bram Fisher Airport in Bloemfontein with no need to move by road to the Gauteng airport.

In the same publication the GOC (General Officer Commanding) Joint Operations headquarters, Major General Sandile Hlongwa with 18 years of service currently to his name, notes “concern” about porous borders between South Africa and eastern and northern neighbouring countries.

“This situation will receive prioritised attention. Illegal activities in those parts of the country are a concern and dent the image of South Africa as well as negatively impacting the economy. We need to respond swiftly,” the two-star warns.