The thinly stretched camouflage line ensuring at least some territorial integrity along South Africa’s land borders is rotating with 15 new companies moving in to replace those who have completed six months of border duty.
Lieutenant Colonel Piet Paxton, Staff Officer, Operational Communication, SANDF Joint Operations Division, said the soldiers standing down recorded “good success” over the past six months.
Top of the list was narcotics confiscation with an estimated street value of R56 million. By far the majority of this was dagga from Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland.
Eight-eight stolen vehicles valued at R24 million were also recovered along with ten thousand undocumented people apprehended and handed to police and the Department of Home Affairs; 40 weapons including automatics, hand guns and rifles seized and handed to police; 350 known criminals apprehended and handed to police; and livestock, including cattle, goats and sheep, totalling 1 300 recovered and/or impounded.
The 15 companies, comprising just over 2 700 soldiers currently being rotated on South Africa’s borders with Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe, have been deployed in seven provinces, the only exceptions being Gauteng and the Western Cape. The deployment being replaced was drawn from six SA Army Reserve Force Units – Johannesburg Regiment, Rand Light Infantry, Transvaal Scottish, Cape Town Highlanders, Regiment Piet Retief and Regiment De la Rey.
They were supported by full-time forcer members from SASIC (SA Army Specialised Infantry Capability), 10 Anti-Aircraft Regiment, the Tactical intelligence Unit and 121 SA Infantry Battalion.
There was no information on units now being deployed, all of which will be in position by mid-October. The rotation began at the end of August.
“The Chief of Joint Operations, Lieutenant General Barney Hlatshwayo, wishes to extend his gratitude and congratulations to the outgoing soldiers on their unrelenting service to South Africa and its people at large and trust that the next deployment will only build on the successes of their predecessors,” the SANDF said.