South Africa’s border protection is in the hands of 2 700 soldiers
The border protection tasking assigned to the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) by Cabinet currently sees just over two thousand seven hundred soldiers from both the full-time and Reserve Force components patrolling the country’s landward borders. According to a written answers provided in the National Assembly, the ages of soldiers doing this duty range from 21 to 68. In her response to Democratic Alliance (DA MP Kobus Marais, Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula breaks down the ages from the youngest to those 60 and over. There are currently only two soldiers aged 21 deployed to Operation Corona and at the other end of the scale there are 18 soldiers, aged 60 and older who find themselves doing border protection. The Minister did not give a breakdown of full-time and Reserve Force units currently patrolling South Africa’s borders with Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe but defenceWeb has learnt there are currently soldiers from six SA Army Reserve Force units on border duty. They have been drawn from the ranks of the Johannesburg Regiment, Rand Light Infantry, Transvaal Scottish, Cape Town Highlanders, Regiment Piet Retief and Regiment De la Rey. Soldiers from SASIC (SA Army Specialised Infantry Capability), 10 Anti-Aircraft Regiment, the Tactical intelligence Unit and 121 SA Infantry Battalion make up the current full-time force complement on the landward borders.
The 170-strong Reserve Force deployment from Regiment Piet Retief has, in addition to the more usual contraband of dagga and small livestock registered its first seizure of gold in the June/July reporting period. Based in the Maluti-Sterkspruit operational area close to the Lesotho/South Africa border in Eastern Cape, this deployment confiscated five kg of unwrought gold as well as a sizeable number of Mandrax tablets.