Seboka 2014 will be ACIRC force preparation exercise for the SA Army


South Africa’s commitment to the African Union (AU) African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC) force goes to another level next month when the Army’s annual force preparation exercise will be geared specifically to the fledgling rapid response force.

ACIRC is seen as a precursor to the African Standby Force (ASF), originally envisaged by the AU as its rapid response unit for speedy intervention in conflict or other crises on the continent.

This year’s force preparation exercise will, as in the past, be known as Exercise Seboka, but will not test combat readiness of the landward arm of service of the SANDF in the conventional battle arena.
“Seboka 2014 is going to be an SA Army force preparation exercise for ACIRC,” is the word from a reliable source.

It will take place at the Army Combat Training Centre (CTC) at Lohathla from September 9 to 26 with 43 SA Brigade as the brigade headquarters. No further details of units and/or regiments taking part in the exercise were available at the time of publication but the exercise is deemed as important for South Africa, which is currently one of ten African states who have committed to supplying troops and equipment for ACIRC. The other countries are Algeria, Angola, Chad, Liberia, Niger, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

The cancellation of an AU field training exercise (FTX) in Lesotho, originally set down for October, as part of the continental body’s preparations to operationalise the ASF by 2015, puts into perspective South Africa’s commitment to ACIRC.

Last November South African President Jacob Zuma, who is also Commander-in-Chief of the SANDF, hosted a meeting in Pretoria to plot the way forward in making ACIRC a reality. He told that meeting the decision to establish ACIRC came about “due to the realisation that independent and swift African response to crises that arise on our continent cannot wait while the building blocks of the ASF are carefully being put into place”.

The ASF has been in the making for more than 10 years with any number of planning meetings and programmes on its structure, deployment and logistic matters held by the AU African Peace and Security Architecture.

The dates of September 9 to 26 for Exercise Seboka 2014 have been confirmed by a reliable SANDF source. The “official” calendar of SA Army events for 2014 lists the exercise as taking place between November 10 and 28 this year.