SANDF to help SAPS on borders

THE first four SA National Defence Force companies to take over borderline security from the South African Police Service on the northern borders, held a farewell parade in Bloemfontein yesterday.

SANDF chief Lieutenant General Solly Shoke said the troop deployment would work closely with other law enforcement agencies along South Africa's borders, as they had done in the past.

The group of soldiers is part of the first phase of the South African Border Management Agency (BMA) approved by Cabinet in October last year.

The four companies, of about 130 soldiers each, would be deployed on South Africa's northeastern borders with Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

The soldiers would conduct foot and mobile patrols, monitor the border fence and supply reaction capabilities.

Shoke said advance teams of SANDF engineers were already deployed to the areas, including bases at Musina and Pontdrif, to prepare the facilities for the troops.

Addressing the parade at the De Brug Mobilisation Centre outside Bloemfontein, Shoke said the troops were being placed back on the borders to help the police curb criminal cross-border activities.

"Like those who serve outside our borders... your discipline should be impeccable because criminals would look at ways to bribe you."

A relief group of South African soldiers currently deployed in Sudan on a joint United Nations and African Union peacekeeping mission joined the parade.

The SANDF was sending some 800 fresh troops to Sudan as part of Operation Cordite, an UN/AU mission, which forms part of the peacekeeping operations in Darfur.

Shoke said the SA soldiers returning from Sudan had enjoyed a good relationship with the people of Darfur and the other nations involved in the peacekeeping efforts.

"They have a good rapport."

Troops deployed on the SA borders would rotate every six months. - Sapa