Intelligence Formation has its second woman boss

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The Army’s Intelligence Formation has a new General Officer Commanding following a 14 month period during which it was led by an acting Officer Commanding.

While it is by no means one of the bigger formations in the landward arm of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), its mission to prepare and provide combat ready Cytoon equipment-trained troopers for the defence force, is an important one. This is done through the School of Tactical Intelligence and 1 Tactical Intelligence Regiment, both based in Potchefstroom. The Formation’s headquarters is in Pretoria.

Last Friday saw Brigadier General Rene Mercuur officially handed command of the formation by her predecessor, Major General Nontombeko Mpaxa. The two star general was Intelligence Formation General Officer Commanding from January 2012 to December 2013 when she was moved to the Army’s Force Preparation Directorate as Chief.

Colonel Danie Labuschagne filled the gap as acting OC from December 2013 to the end of February.

Mercuur becomes the second woman to command the Intelligence Formation after Mpaxa. Mercuur attested in the SANDF in 1994 and was promoted to the rank of brigadier general following the successful completion of the Executive National Security Programme (ENSP) course last December. She and her fellow course goers on ENSP 30/2014 were the last to complete it as it has now been replaced by the Security and Defence Studies Programme (SDSP).

One of the formation’s most visible successes comes from the Kruger National Park where troops from 1 Tactical intelligence Regiment have been on the ground providing valuable intelligence to rangers and soldiers in the ongoing battle against rhino poaching. Retired Army General Johan Jooste, now director special projects with poaching as his number one priority, complimented the regiment on its intelligence gathering and surveillance which has assisted in the capture of a number of suspected poachers.

Another feather in the regiment’s cap comes from General Arondo of the Ugandan Peoples Defence Force. During a recent visit to South Africa he commended the regiment for “valuable intelligence” gathered in the Central African Republic (CAR). This, according to a Formation spokesman, prevented attacks not only on SANDF members deployed there but also on CAR residents.