When the current rotation of border protection units is complete by mid-October, four regular infantry battalions, the SA Army’s specialist infantry capability and the lone tank regiment will make up the bulk of the over 2 700 soldiers on South Africa’s landward borders.
Another full-time force unit, 1 Tactical Intelligence Regiment, also has personnel doing border duty with the remainder of the new deployment coming from four Reserve Force units.
The Limpopo/Zimbabwe border sees 2 SA infantry Battalion providing the battalion Headquarters and two companies, with the third at this site coming from SASIC (SA Army Specialised Infantry Capability) based in Potchefstroom.
The Mpumalanga border with Mozambique has 14 SA Infantry Battalion providing Headquarters and two companies with the tactical troop and the third company coming from the Reserve Force’s 4 Parachute Battalion.
A similar situation is in place on the KwaZulu-Natal landward border with 1 Tank Regiment providing Headquarters and two companies. The third company on duty here is from Durban Regiment.
Free State border falls under 1 SA Infantry Battalion which provides the Headquarters and two companies with 6 SA Infantry Battalion having command and patrol duties on the Eastern Cape border through a single company.
In the Northern Cape a company from Kimberley Regiment will be on deployment until around April next year with another Reserve Force unit – Regiment Bloemspruit – providing a company for duty on the North West border.
The rotation is underway with some new units already bedded in at various headquarters and bases. The balance is due to be in place in the next three weeks and take over from units who have finished a six month tour of duty.
Border safeguarding is a vital function of the SANDF and during the 2017/18 financial year it will continue to deploy 15 sub-units, as the Department of Defence (DoD) calls them, to execute border safeguarding in the Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and North West provinces.