Johannesburg Regiment (JR) last year was named the best combat ready unit in the SA Army and is putting this preparation to good use during the Reserve Force regiment’s current Operation Corona deployment on the Limpopo/Zimbabwe border.
Since the beginning of December a JR company has been responsible for confiscating R963 500 worth of contraband, mostly cigarettes, and has stopped and handed 1 421 undocumented people to police and Home Affairs officials.
“Six hundred of these were stopped by JR members on Monday and Tuesday this week alone,” Lieutenant Colonel Piet Paxton, SSO 1, Operational Communications, SANDF Joint Operations Division, said.
The company from the Reserve Force regiment moved into position for its Corona deployment at the beginning of December and, in addition to contraband and undocumented people, has also been responsible for three vehicles – two Quantum minibus taxis and an Isuzu bakkie – being confiscated. The vehicles were being used as taxis to transport people, both legally and illegally, across the South Africa/Zimbabwe border and their drivers/owners have been fined a total of R345 000.
Paxton said 564kg of dagga was confiscated by soldiers on the Free State border with Lesotho and the KwaZulu-Natal border with Mozambique in the period December 1 to January 12.
“All told soldiers have confiscated contraband valued at over R2 million in this period on border patrols in Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Mpumalanga,” he said.
The SA Army combat ready award, JR Officer Commanding Lieutenant Colonel MD Motsamai said, was particularly relevant because it had been competed for, at equal level, in the face of stiff competition by both Regular and Reserve Force units.
Discipline, personnel, drills, equipment and command and control were evaluated during the competition and the points scored by JR were sufficient to ensure the unit got the nod from the judges.
JR came into being as an infantry regiment in March 1960 following the closure and re-mustering of 8 Field Artillery Regiment. It was one of the first Reserve Force units to provide troops along with the SA Irish Regiment for deployment in peace support operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2005. The regiment’s first border protection deployment came two years later when a platoon was attached to a Transvaal Scottish company. Since then it has been a regular source of troops for both border protection and peace support.