Close on 3 000 military professionals and others involved in various aspects of peace missions have to date benefitted from the skills training offered by the SA National Defence Force’s (SANDF’s) Peace Mission Training Centre (PMTC).
The Centre’s mission was set out by then SANDF Human Resources Chief Lieutenant General Derrick Mgwebi (now Joint Operations Chief) when he officially took it into service in 2007. He told guests at the event that the PMTC would prepare SANDF and Department of Defence (DoD) members, as well as officials from other government departments, for peace support operations to enhance South Africa’s contributions to peacekeeping, peace-making and peace building missions on the continent.
Establishment of the PMTC was in line with an agreement entered into between then Defence Minister, Mosiuoa Lekota, and United Kingdom Defence Secretary Des Browne. The agreement saw the UK contributing R2.3 million to the PMTC.
The total cost of setting up the PMTC was R30 million, with contributions coming from South Africa, the United States and Canada in addition to the United Kingdom funding.
The Centre forms part of the SA National War College on the northern side of the Pretoria CBD but is housed in premises at the SA Army College in Thaba Tshwane.
Today the Centre continues to offer at least 10 courses a year with 40 students per course. Modules covered include disarmament, demobilisation and re-integration (DDR); peace relief and reconstruction; introduction to peace missions; gender advisors and instructors; peace mission staff officers; peace mission logistics officers course’ negotiations; peace mission commanders and military observers.
“On successful completion of courses, participants are considered qualified to serve in peace support operations under either the auspices of the AU or UN,” SANDF director corporate communications, Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga said.
Courses have been specifically structured to equip and empower participants with the knowledge, attitude and expectations required by the continental and world bodies for successful deployment on various peace related missions.
Advanced conferencing and simulation software allows participants to role play scenarios and study lessons learnt during actual peacekeeping and peace support missions.