Saab supporting Operation Corona deployment


Saab is supporting the troops doing border protection duty on South Africa’s borders with the supply and refurbishment of bases for Operation Corona.

The company has supplied infrastructure to the operational bases at Madimbo, Pontdrift and Pongola. This includes a medical unit, medical gas storage, medical waste storage, accommodation, contraband store, lp gas storage, ambulance parking bay, charge office, guard room, guard sleeping quarters and holding cells. This includes water, sewage and electrical supply to these facilities.

This allows Joint Operations, which coordinates the South African National Defence Force’s (SANDF’s) border security efforts, to deploy soldiers very close to the borders they must secure. Units from the bases mount foot and motorised patrols, checking fences, arresting smugglers, undocumented migrants, poachers, and others attempting to cross the border illegally or with criminal intent.

Saab Grintek Defence was initially awarded a contract by the Department of Defence to revamp Madimbo operational base, initially built in the 1970s. Modern accommodation is now provided with separate facilities for male and female defence force members.

The revamped Madimbo base was officially handed over to the SANDF in December 2012. The bases at Pontdrift and Pongola followed suit.

The revamped Madimbo base includes a new Military Police facility, including a charge office, holding cells, and a secure store for confiscated contraband. A secure car park has been created to allow the SANDF to store stolen vehicles interdicted from crossing the border until they can be handed to police to be returned to their rightful owners.

Operational Base Madimbo includes a parade ground, water purification facilities, and new medical and communication facilities. Roads, the electrical supply, and sewerage systems, and a vehicle wash bay with oil and water separators were upgraded, while new messes with enlarged kitchen, laundry and recreation facilities were installed. The mess was an existing structure that Saab upgraded for the SANDF.

At present there are 15 SANDF companies deployed along South Africa’s borders. Some of the bases used for Operation Corona include those at Ladybrand, Fouriesburg, Maluti, Pongola, Ndumo, Zonstraal, Macadamia, Sandriver, Madimbo, Musina and Pontdrift.

Hannes du Preez, Executive Manager Marketing and Sales Product Area LSI at Saab Grintek Defence, told defenceWeb that Saab is waiting for the SANDF to release the next phase of base camp upgrades. Antonio Brazzoli, Vice President and Head of Lead Systems Integration at Saab Grintek Defence, said the company is uniquely positioned to meet the requirements of the SANDF and is eager to assist the defence force. He said Saab is contracted to provide maintenance for the three border bases every year.

The SANDF is planning further expansion of border facilities in support of government progress on establishing the Border Management Authority.

Saab supplies a variety of base and camp solutions, for peacekeeping, border security, infrastructure and medical facilities. It has provided vehicle maintenance support to AMISOM peacekeeping forces in Mogadishu, Somalia, since 2010, as well as servicing and maintaining a wide range of generators and other machinery.

Saab’s turnkey solutions for deployed units include Mobile Medical Solutions aligned with the World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations (UN) and NATO requirements, guard towers, water supply, sewage and waste handling, accommodation offices and ablutions, kitchen facilities, power generation and communications.