Grey Havoc

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9 October 2009
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The first SA Army division level exercise since the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) was established 28 plus years ago is up and running at the landward force’s premier training area – the Combat Training Centre (CTC) in Northern Cape.

It’s stand up and show time for the new make-up of the landward force with specialist modern brigades. The new brigade formations are designed and set up to respond to modern threats such as asymmetric warfare and were established in response to the current security situation. The modern brigade concept is cognisant of asymmetric and terrorism threats to South Africa, according to Army Chief Lieutenant General Lawrence Mbatha.

The modern brigades, as they have been christened, are the First (Mechanised), Second (Motorised), Third (Light) and Fourth (Airborne).

Exercise Vuk’uhlome kicked off this week with a parade attended by SANDF Chief, General Rudzani Maphwanya. Also present were divisional exercise commander, Major General Patrick Dube, chief directors of army directorates and brigade commanders.

Addressing the parade, Maphwanya said the exercise was “much anticipated” adding “achieving good results will be critical for the SA Army as well as the SANDF, South Africa and the continent at large in the short, medium and long term”.

Information on the modern brigades supplied by SANDF social media communication officers indicates 43 Mechanised Modern Brigade is the official home of 1, 4 and 8 SA Infantry (SAI) battalions and 2 Field Engineer Regiment until Exercise Vuk’uhlome concludes.

The Motorised Modern Brigade comprises Headquarters 46 SA Brigade and its subsidiaries for the purpose of the exercise and includes 7 and 14 SAI battalions and General Botha Regiment. The Light Modern Brigade houses SASSIC (SA Army Specialist Infantry Capability), Andrew Mlangeni Regiment and a “quick respond force (sic)” with no detail on its components. The final modern brigade – airborne – houses 6 and 9 SAI, 44 Parachute Brigade and 101 Air Supply Unit. Keeping the brigades going is combined maintenance unit comprising 101 Workshop Unit alongside 16 and 17 maintenance units.

Post the parade to officially set Vuk’uhlome in motion, a long CTC tradition of rockpiling took place with a commemorative plaque to mark the exercise in company with other piles, each of which honours a specific exercise on the Northern Cape training area.

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