Use of 3 SAI as police training facility another example of SANDF/SAPS co-operation

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SA National Defence Force (SANDF) support to the SA Police Service (SAPS) is not confined to operations only, but extends to logistics, in the broader sense, also supporting National Commissioner General Fannie Masemola’s crime fighters.

And it was on show at 3 SA Infantry (SAI) Battalion in Kimberley last week where a passing out parade for a batch of this year’s 10 000 police recruits intake was overseen by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The 3 SAI passing out parade was, as far as can be established, one of three last week with 10 000 newly minted police officers detailed for festive season duty nationally. Other parades were at the Police College in Pretoria West and Paarl’s Dal Josafat stadium in the Western Cape province for trainees based at the SAPS Academy there.

SAPS training academies could accommodate seven of the ten thousand 2023 recruits. A thousand four hundred and eighty-nine trainees were assigned to the Kimberley base.

Earlier this year a delegation of senior police officers visited the Infantry Formation training unit in the Northern Cape province to assess its suitability for police training following complaints.

When police recruits reported for duty in Kimberly there were reports they were not issued blankets, pillows or mattresses at the SA Army Infantry Formation base as well as having only cold water to shower and bread to “compensate for lack of food”.

Attention to, among others, accommodation, ablution and messing facilities saw 3 SAI given the nod of approval by Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Police (PCOP) in May. Following the visit, a Parliamentary Communication Services statement had it there was “a vast improvement” saying it was “necessary especially within the broader context of the intensification of the fight against crime”.

Speaking post the PCOP visit, then chair Tina Joemat-Pettersson (now deceased) said the “strategic decision” to use 3 SAI will have “a long lasting impact” and “be a framework for future joint initiatives between SAPS and the SANDF”.

In his passing out parade address last week, Ramaphosa said the latest intake of police recruits will contribute to government’s visible policing efforts and strengthen the capacity of the South African Police Service.

“Our new Constables will be deployed to various police stations and also to specialised units such as Public Order Policing, Visible Policing, the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences units.

“Among their first tasks will be to strengthen the country-wide effort to ensure that South Africans are safe and secure during this festive season. A strong, capacitated and well-resourced South African Police Service is critical in the fight against crime,” Ramaphosa said.

He said the country was under siege from criminals and that crime is wreaking havoc in communities, destroying lives and tearing families apart.

“We are tired of crime. We are tired of criminals operating with impunity. We are tired of the abuse and violence directed at women, children and other vulnerable groups. We are tired of the rule of law being undermined.

“We have recruited and trained you as part of a new front in the fight against crime,” the President said.

In February this year, during the State of the Nation Address, it was announced that the SAPS would train 10 000 new recruits this year to bolster the 10 000 recruits that were trained in 2022.

Touching on Operation Shanela, President Ramaphosa said high-density operations have been undertaken across the country that resulted in over 250 000 arrests, the seizure of over 3 200 firearms and the recovery of more than 1 700 stolen vehicles.

“The police have made progress in tackling crimes like cash in transit heists, drug smuggling, illegal mining and damage to critical infrastructure.

“Working together with the National Prosecution Authority (NPA), the police have secured 247 life sentences for 187 perpetrators of gender-based violence since the beginning of this financial year,” the President said.