The establishment of the South African Army’s second and third Modern Brigades is moving forward, according to SA Army Chief Lieutenant General Lawrence Mbatha.
Mbatha made this known during a Change of Office Parade between Master Chief Warrant Officer Ncedakele Mtshatsheni and Senior Chief Warrant Officer P T Tladi on 31 March at the Thaba Tshwane Sports Ground.
The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) reports Mbatha as saying preparations are at an advanced stage to establish the 2nd Modern Brigade (Motorised) in the Bloemfontein area and the 3rd Modern Brigade, envisaged as the Light Modern Brigade, in Gauteng. The 4th Modern Brigade, an airborne brigade, would be located in Bloemfontein.
The 1st Modern Brigade (Mechanised) has been established at Lohatlha, and flexed its muscles during an exercise there in November 2021. The Modern Brigade is designed to respond to modern threats such as asymmetric warfare and has been established in response to the current security situation. The modern brigade concept is cognisant of asymmetric and terrorism threats to South Africa.
“The process shall mainly be driven by a constant threat analysis based on the fact the SA Army is required, in terms of its mandate, to provide combat-ready landward forces for the pursuance of national defence and prevention of war to jointly achieve national and regional security goals,” Mbatha said.
The SA Army currently has two standing brigades – 43 SA Brigade at Wallmannsthal and 46 in Johannesburg’s Kensington. Neither have standing personnel and equipment with resources assigned according to mission requirements. Among challenges posed by this arrangement is an inability to meet the joint forces employment requirement – the basic tasking from Chief: Joint Operations. This requires the Army to maintain a brigade strength rapid reaction force.
The Modern Brigade will therefore see a combat ready operational capability in place. This is done by centralising prime mission equipment and vehicles at Lohatla in the Northern Cape. Under the command of 43 SA Brigade headquarters, the Modern Brigade has its own headquarters, combat and support units.
During the change of office parade, Mbatha highlighted some recent success of the SA Army, including Engineers building bridges in remote rural areas under Operation Chariot; providing clean water in places like Machabeng; providing combat troops to the United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo under Operation Mistral; supporting counter-insurgency efforts in northern Mozambique under Operation Vikela; supporting the South African Police Service through Operation Prosper; and safeguarding South Africa’s borders under Operation Corona.
In his parade address, Mbatha said Tladi has a great responsibility of taking the Office of the Warrant Officer of SA Army to greater heights. Mtshatsheni is now the Warrant Officer of the SANDF. Mbatha congratulated both on their new positions and wished them well in fulfilling their duties.