In just over a week South Africans, particularly those near some landward ports of entry, will have visual proof something major on the military front is in the offing.
Captain Jaco Theunissen of the SANDF Joint Operations Division said personnel vehicles and equipment from countries involved in the AU African Standby Force (ASF) field training exercise, Amani Africa 11, are expected to start moving through at least seven South African ports of entry.
Apart from South Africa, which is contributing 2,356 troops, the next biggest troop contributor is the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Its 1,294 soldiers are expected to move into South African en route to the SA Army Combat Training Centre (CTC) at Lohathla in Northern Cape through Nakop (Namibia), Ramatlabama (Botswana), Oshoek (Swaziland) and Maseru Bridge (Lesotho) with Upington Airport the nearest fly-in port of entry for foreign military aircraft.
All told about 5,400 soldiers, police and civilians representing four AU regional economic communities will take part in the exercise which start on October 19 and finishes on November 7.
Realistic fictitious scenarios will take place during the field training exercise which will aim to validate the rapid deployment capability of the ASF as a start-up operation (Scenario 6 AU/Chapter 7 UN) and to run a full multi-dimensional Peace Support Operation (Scenario 5 AU/Chapter 6 UN). This will take place in the fictitious Republic of Carana. Comprehensive and detailed planning has been done by the AU, SADC and South Africa to date as well as in South Africa since March this year.