Hensoldt helping injured ranger become a drone pilot


Hensoldt South Africa, together with JacarandaFM, is helping a game ranger to become a drone pilot after critical injuries on the job left him unable to continue his duties.

Solly Mahlawule nearly lost his life in an ambush by poachers in May 2022 at a game reserve in Mpumalanga. Despite taking several shots in his legs and one in his arm, Solly survived the ordeal, but his left leg had to be amputated. Although fitted with a prosthetic limb and learning to adapt to his new lifestyle, Mahlawule’s mobility was compromised and this took away his chance to continue earning an income as a field ranger, Hensoldt South Africa said.

With the help of Hensoldt and Good Morning Angels on JacarandaFM, Mahlawule will be acquiring his qualification as a drone pilot, which will allow him to continue to operate and earn an income as a wildlife protector. He will also be provided with an advanced tactical drone to help him fight the battle against poachers, Hensoldt South Africa said.

JacarandaFM is further assisting him with another R50 000 to help with travel and accommodation needs during his studies and to make the necessary alterations to his home to accommodate his impaired mobility.

Hensoldt’s journey with Mahlawule and his team goes back more than five years to when Hensoldt became the technology partner to the conservancy he was working on in 2017. “Since then we’ve become accustomed to sharing good news stories and milestones together – five years of no poaching on the farm where we started working together, 900 baby rhinos born in safety,” said Ferri Erasmus, Hensoldt SA Head of Communications.

“It was just unimaginable to us that it should end there, that poachers would take his future from him, from such a remarkable person that still has so much to give,” said Erasmus.

Hensoldt South Africa uses advanced intelligence, radar and optical surveillance systems combined with physical security for high-end wildlife protection at nature reserves in South Africa, augmenting its products designed to protect armed forces, civilians, assets and borders.