2023/24 PMTC training wraps up

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With the current financial year-end (31 March) looming ever larger on the horizon, the South African military’s peace mission training centre (PMTC) wrapped up its final course for 2023/24 earlier this month.

The course, for SA National Defence Force (SANDF) officers to train in the particulars of staff officer duties detached to peacekeeping missions, saw 56 officers in the captain, lieutenant colonel and SA Navy (SAN) captain ranks report at the PMTC on the SA Army College campus in Thaba Tshwane on 12 February.

The five-week course puts those who made the grade in line for postings as staff officers with United Nations (UN), African Union (AU) or Southern African Development Community (SADC) peacekeeping and/or peace support missions.

Highest representation, numbers-wise, was the SA Air Force (SAAF) with 23 followed by the SA Army (21). Six SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) officers, along with five from the SAN, four from Defence Intelligence and three from the Joint Operations Division made up the balance.

While at PMTC, the course attendees had the opportunity to hear lectures delivered by, among others, Brigadier General MT Leketi and a Colonel Innes (Chief Directorate Transformation Management), Colonel JM Heyns, Lieutenant Colonels Boshomane and Mucumi from the School of Military Justice along with Major NE Moreki (SA Army Training Formation), and Dr E Maphoto (International Committee of the Red Cross).

Successful completion of the course earned certificates for those on it, which will be put to good use when the Department of Defence (DoD) Human Resources Division, in collaboration with Joint Operations, makes selections for continental staff postings.

The PMTC, first opened its doors for training in November 2007, with the then DoD Human Resources boss, now retired Lieutenant General Derrick Mgwebi, telling those attending the opening the R30 million centre came into being as the outcome of analysing lessons learnt on peacekeeping missions and operations.

“We realised there were certain aspects where we [South Africa] were lacking,” he was reported as telling guests.

“We will be using this facility to the best of our ability to educate and train our officers in key aspects of peace support operations. Some of us here did not have [the advantage of attending] this facility before. I hope you realise how fortunate you are to have a facility like this,” Mgwebi told the centre’s first class 17 years ago.

The PMTC military observers’ course has been a mainstay of training. It, like the staff officer course, is designed to introduce South African military officers to what they will encounter when deployed to and one AU/UN peacekeeping and peace support missions.