The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has a new head of its military police, with Rear Admiral (JG) Mokgadi Alpheus Maphoto the new Provost Marshal General of the SANDF.
Outgoing Major General Tsepo Stanley Buhali handed over command to his successor during a ceremony at Air Force Base (AFB) Zwartkop on 27 July. The ceremony was attended by SANDF Chief, General Solly Shoke, and other top military officials, and included a parade and capability demonstration, during which the military police simulated an attack on the defence minister’s convoy and the apprehension of the attackers after a gunfight.
Buhali, in his address, said that his job has been challenging but filled with many successes and the improvement in the image of the Military Police. Some of the highlights include establishing an airborne capability for the first time in 2011, the development of camouflage protective gear for motorcycle riders to reduce death and injury, the establishment of a fleet of vehicles for VIP support and taking part in the memorial and funeral of the late President Nelson Mandela. Buhali said the regulations regarding detention facilities were reviewed for the first time since 1961, bringing them in line with the constitution and United Nations regulations.
“The performance of the Military Police prompted a number of countries in the SADC region to request to be trained by the South African Military Police,” he said. These countries include Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria and Botswana while other countries are interested in training.
“I can proudly say that over the years we have successfully provided support to all SANDF exercises and operations within our country and operations where the SANDF is deployed outside the borders of our country, such as Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan.
“The list of successes is long. Despite these successes we have achieved there are challenges… chief amongst them is the Military Police continue to suffer from budget cuts which has a negative impact on our deteriorating facilities. I believe and hope that will very soon be a thing of the past.” Buhali said a side effect of the budget cuts was many unfunded posts and a high attrition rate of personnel.
Buhali was appointed Inspector General of the Department of Defence on 1 April 2017. Maphoto said that as he worked under Buhali he was part of his successes and know what the challenges and requirements of his post will be. He said he will put effort into eradicating crime in the defence force and ensure the SANDF is a respectable organisation.
Maphoto received military training under the ANC’s armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe, and formed part of the first groups to integrate into the SANDF in 1994. After completion of basic training he and nine other members were sent to join the SA Naval Police in 1995. He completed his military police training in Pretoria and worked at Naval Base Simon’s Town Military Police and its detachments at SA Naval College in Gordon’s Bay and SAS Wingfield until receiving commission in 2000.
After working in various sections of the military police, in 2004 Maphoto was appointed Training Support Commander and later Second in Command at the Military Police School in Thaba Tshwane. In 2010 he was appointed as the first Navy Regional Commander of the Northern Military Police Region, also in Thaba Tshwane, and thereafter appointed as a Senior Staff Officer Provost Services between 2012 and 2017.
After completing military police courses between 1995 and 2001, Maphoto in 2005 completed the Naval Junior Staff and Warfare Programme a Naval Staff College in Muizenberg. In 2007 he completed the Senior Management Programme at the University of Pretoria and subsequently completed the Joint Senior Command and Staff Programme at the South African National Defence College. In 2015 he completed Security and Management Studies at the University of Witwatersrand and received a post graduate diploma. That year he also received a post graduate diploma in National Security and Defence at the Revolutionary Armed Forces General Antonio Maceo National Defence College in Cuba. He also completed the Specialty National Defence and Security Programme at the same institution in Cuba.