It’s presently embryonic but if developed as envisaged, the Mzansi Home Guard could contribute to improving rural safety using Reserve Force personnel.
This is one point in a report on the Defence Reserves website which previous SA Army Chief, Lieutenant General Lindile Yam (now Chief of Staff) asked the reserve component of the national defence force to investigate. This saw Lieutenant-Colonel Philip Coetzer, the officer tasked with strategy and planning for Project Koba-Tlala, investigate the home guard concept at the behest of Brigadier General Gerhard Kamffer, director SA Army Reserves.
The site has Kamffer saying part of the Mzansi Home Guard concept is “organised and co-ordinated blanket coverage of South Africa’s rural and semi-rural areas to enhance collection of information”.
“This requirement will allow the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) to become more proactive in its approach to operations and ensure a quicker and more comprehensive flow of information than is currently the case. This element can be defined as a ‘home guard’ system –referred to as the Mzansi Home Guard. This system must be linked with and structured to support the developmental agenda of Government as well as the C SANDF Project Koba-Tlala.”
Other components of the fledgling Mzansi Home Guard include support to communities in distress via water and sanitation as well as water purification and being part of the national response to natural and other disasters.
As far as the intelligence component of Mzansi is concerned the report notes that “continued instability requires an intelligence capability sensitive to a more complex environment” with the aim of providing tactical intelligence to support the landward force’s intelligence operating system.
To date this has seen a basic tactical intelligence curriculum developed by the School for Tactical Intelligence with the next phase involving Reserve Force personnel who have successfully completed Koba-Tlala orientation training. They will do a five-day basic tactical intelligence training course and return to their respective units. Here this knowledge will be utilised in the course of general community work as per Koba-Tlala prescripts on community liaison.
Additionally, Mzansi will add to improving civil-military co-operation, another Koba-Tlala objective.
The paper does not give an indication of a timeline for either partial or complete implementation of Mzansi which now resorts under Lieutenant General Lawrence Mbatha.