South African Agencies
National Intelligence Co-ordinating Committee [NICOC]
|The National Intelligence Coordinating Committee, chaired by an Intelligence Coordinator, brings together the heads of the different services and reports to the Cabinet or President. NICOC consists of: the Co-ordinator for Intelligence, the Director-General of the Agency, the chief of the Intelligence Division of the National Defence Force, the head of the National Investigation Service of the South African Police Service, the Director-General of the Service. NICOC co-ordinates the intelligence supplied by the members of the National Intelligence Structures to NICOC and interprets national strategic intelligence for use by the State and the Cabinet. NICOC also co-ordinates and prioritises intelligence activities within the National Intelligence Structures, and advises the Cabinet on the intelligence policy and functions within the National Intelligence Structures. The Committee prepares and interprets a national intelligence estimate for consideration by the Cabinet, and produces and disseminates current intelligence which may have an influence on state policy. NICOC is also responsible for formulating for approval by the Cabinet, a policy relating to national strategic intelligence and, after consultation with the departments of State entrusted with the maintenance of the security of the Republic, to co-ordinate the flow of national security intelligence between such departments; and to make recommendations to the Cabinet on intelligence priorities. In order to ensure accountability, a parliamentary committee is appointed by the President in concurrence with the Speaker of Parliament and leaders of political parties. Inspectors-General of the new intelligence agencies, also appointed by the President, monitors the services. They report to the parliamentary committee and to the Ministers concerned.|
South African Secret Service [SASS]
|Three intelligence Acts passed by Parliament marked the formation of a new national Intelligence Service for South Africa. The South African Secret Service (SASS) is responsible for foreign intelligence. The mission of the Service is to gather, correlate, evaluate and analyze foreign intelligence, excluding foreign military intelligence, in order to identify any threat or potential threat to the security of the Republic and to supply intelligence relating to national strategic intelligence to NICOC. The Service is responsible for counter-intelligence measures within the Service. The Service gather intelligence at the request of departments of State, and, evaluates and transmits such intelligence and other intelligence at the disposal of the Service and which constitutes departmental intelligence, to the department concerned.|
National Defence Force Intelligence Division
|The South African National
Defence Force (SANDF) came into being on 27 April 1994. The 1993
Constitution stipulates that the SANDF will be used to defend the
country against external and internal threats. The function of the SANDF
is service in defence of South Africa in time of war and in fulfilment of the country's treaty obligations. Military service is also performed
to prevent or suppress internal disorder, preserve life, health and
property, and to maintain essential services. The process of integrating the former
South African Defence Force (SADF) with the military wings of the
African National Congress (ANC), Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) and the
armies of the former homelands into one force started on 16 May 1994 and
will be completed by 31 March 1998. Some 21 000 Umkhonto weSiswe (MK)
members and 6 000 Azanian People's Liberation Army (APLA) members are
expected to integrate with the existing 95 000 members of the former
South African Defence Force and former homeland armies. The SANDF consists of four arms - the
Army, Air Force, Navy and Medical Service - supplemented by three
support services, the Chaplain General, the Inspector General and the
Communication Service. The main staff functions of the SANDF are
performed by five staff divisions, namely Personnel, Intelligence,
Operations, Logistics and Finance. These staff divisions are also
represented at arms of the service level. The Intelligence Division gathers,
correlates, evaluates and uses foreign military intelligence, and
supplies foreign military intelligence relating to national strategic
intelligence to NICOC. It is also responsible for counter-intelligence
measures within the National Defence Force. The Division gathers,
correlates, evaluates and uses domestic military intelligence, excluding
covert collection, and supplies such intelligence to NICOC. But the
National Defence Force Intelligence Division does not gather
intelligence of a non-military nature in a covert manner.
However, the Intelligence Division may, whenever the President on the advice of the Minister of Defence is of the opinion that conditions are such that the Force has to prepare itself for possible employment for service, and upon having been authorised by the Co-ordinator for Intelligence acting with the concurrence of Nicoc and the Cabinet, gather domestic military intelligence in a covert manner within the geographical area and the time-scales specified in such authorisation. The Intelligence Division (Int Div) of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), often referred to as "Military Intelligence", performs the intelligence and counter intelligence and foreign military relations staff function in the integrated SANDF/MoD headquarters. Int Div is accountable to the Chief of the SANDF and the Secretary for Defence for intelligence policy matters and its intelligence and counter intelligence function. Int Div is also part of the larger defence intelligence community, which includes the intelligence headquarters of the Arms of Service and Territorial Commands (provincial), which extend down to unit (tactical) level. Int Div is responsible for strategic military intelligence, while the intelligence structures of the Arms of Service are responsible for operational and tactical intelligence in support of military operations (including cooperation with the SAPS).
Role of Defence Intelligence: The role of Defence Intelligence is to enhance political and military decision-making national security and military-related developments that may have an impact on the area of strategic interest in general, and on the RSA in particular.
Mission: Defence Intelligence provides customised military intelligence, counter-intelligence and military foreign relations services to enhance decision making in support of the mission of the Department of Defence.
Functions: Defence Intelligence entails the management and execution of the following main functions; To determine the intelligence policy for the DoD through collaboration between Intelligence Division and the Defence Secretariat. To supply a military intelligence service at national level. To supply a counter-intelligence service to the DoD. To conduct covert collection and to co-ordinate all other methods of intelligence collection used by the DoD. To supply information support services to the DoD Intelligence Structures. To provide a military foreign relations service to the DoD. To provide intelligence training to the DoD. To provide staff support services to the Intelligence Division.
The aim of Subdivision Military Intelligence (SDMI) is to establish and define possible sources of a military threat against the RSA and the Southern African region. Furthermore, it has to determine opportunities for military cooperation to promote national security objectives. As such it also contributes to national policy-making. SDMI is therefore organised to analyse all military-related security events in the world that could have an impact on Southern Africa and to maintain the capability to deliver timely and reliable intelligence products to national and departmental decision-makers. SDMI is organised as follows: Directorate Internal Theatre, Directorate Southern Africa, Directorate International Conflict, Directorate Interdepartmental Analysis, Directorate Interpretation and Production.
The strategic role of military intelligence at the national and departmental levels has gained in importance, because of an increase in the need to provide early warning of security-related instability, risks and opportunities. The establishment of the Directorate Internal Theatre enabled SDMI to contribute to the national intelligence effort in respect of domestic priorities, e.g. violent crime, taxi-violence, arms smuggling etc. SDMI achieved success in forecasting regional and international developments and thus enabled the DoD and other departments in the security community to plan timely action to deal effectively with such contingencies. SDMI fulfilled an important role in the DoD's strategic planning, the integration process and participation in interdepartmental intelligence production within the National Strategic Intelligence Coordinating Committee (NICOC). SDMI made meaningful contributions to the formulation and implementation of the National Crime Prevention Strategy; the compilation of the White Paper on Peace Support Operations; the participation of the DoD and other relevant departments in multilateral security cooperation in Southern Africa and the rest of the continent; the preparation of briefings to the Cabinet Committee on Security and Intelligence; and the drafting of the 1996 National Intelligence Estimate.
SDMI maintains a liaison with an increasing number of foreign intelligence services, thus enhancing its procurement and exchange of military intelligence.
The aim of the Subdivision Counter-intelligence (SDCI) is to guide the countering of threats of hostile intelligence activities (including espionage), subversion, sabotage and terrorism against the Ministry of Defence, DoD and ARMSCOR in accordance with the SANDF's intelligence mandate. Its main activities involve identifying such threats (which includes the identification of actions, negligence and circumstances within the Ministry of Defence, the DoD and ARMSCOR, which may be exploited by hostile organisations or individuals) and the development of measures to counter them. For this purpose, the SDCI is organised into four directorates, namely Counter-Intelligence, charged with identifying the threat; Counter-intelligence Investigations, charged with the conduct of specialised counter-intelligence information collection; Military Security, charged with the development of measures to counter the threat; and Vetting, charged with determining the security competency of individuals and the issuing of security clearances to the DoD and ARMSCOR employees.
Counter-intelligence intelligence products were compiled and disseminated to various clients both within and outside the DoD. These products identified areas where security measures had to be revised or rectified, areas where DoD employees could be vulnerable to exploitation by hostile or malicious elements and which should be taken into account during security vetting and areas which may be susceptible to hostile intelligence activities (including espionage), subversion, sabotage or terrorism. Management information was also provided to various levels of command within the SANDF. Besides the provision of counter-intelligence intelligence products to clients within the DoD, co-operation with the other intelligence structures in the RSA (e.g. the National Intelligence Co-ordinating Committee) resulted in the submission of counter-intelligence intelligence products at national level. The analysis of counter-intelligence related information indicated that the threat to the DoD's personnel, materiel and classified information resources has intensified during the year under review and will remain high at least in the short term. This threat level is amplified by socio-economic factors (e.g. the present crime levels in the RSA, which also impacts on the DoD), low morale amongst certain SANDF employees and uncertainty regarding the career implications of the transformation process and budgetary cuts. The collection of counter-intelligence information was largely focused on the activities of extremist organisations aimed at disrupting the preparedness of the SANDF to fulfill its constitutional obligations. Directed counter-intelligence investigations undertaken by the SDCI included efforts to confirm or refute allegations of espionage by DoD employees, or similar actions initiated by foreign intelligence services or extremist organisations directed against DoD employees.
The efforts of the Military Security Directorate were concentrated on improving the standard of information, personnel and materiel security in the DoD. To this end, a SA National Defence Force Order (SANDFO), which was based on the cabinet approved Minimum Information Security Standard, was promulgated during February 1997. During the year under review, security monitoring to determine adherence to military security policy and to provide practical expert advice, was done at 95 headquarters, staff divisions and units. Most of the shortcomings identified during these inspections can be ascribed to decreasing expenditure on security as a result of budgetary constraints and the loss of skilled and experience as a result of the severance packages system and retirements amongst military security specialists. In the course of the year under review, an Information Systems Security Steering Committee, representative of all stakeholders, was established to address the vulnerability of electronic data and communications systems. A SANDFO was promulgated to regulate the use of the Internet in the SANDF. Furthermore, the use of new, commercially available software to identify and neutralise computer viruses was instituted. Other centralised functions executed by the Military Security Directorate included the following: The evaluation and securing of offices and conference facilities both internally and abroad against micro-electronic eavesdropping. The monitoring of operations aimed at the protection of dignitaries and the provision of practical advice. Security assistance with the release of classified information for research purposes and legal cases. Security assistance regarding the formulation of formal agreements and memoranda of understanding between the RSA and various other states.
As a result of uncertainty regarding the possible structural implications of the present transformation process, the review of the SANDF's counter-intelligence doctrine (inter alia regarding counter-intelligence support during military operations) could not be completed during the year under review. The current counter-intelligence philosophy is, however, being reviewed and will serve as a conceptual basis for the revised doctrine.
The Directorate Vetting made a significant contribution towards the standardisation of security vetting procedures at the national level through relevant National Intelligence Co-ordination Committee structures. To enhance the SANDF's vetting capabilities, three members of the Directorate were trained in the USA in the use of the polygraph. During the period 96/97, a total of 12 058 security clearances were issued. This represents a total of 401 Top Secret, 1 410 Secret, 5 278 Confidential and 4 976 Restricted clearances. A total of 94 clearances were refused during the same period.
Subdivision Collection (SDC) is requirement driven, which provides relevant information and information collection capabilities to the intelligence processing structures of the DOD, in accordance with the legal mandate. The four directorates comprising this subdivision all contribute to the effort in achieving and execution of collection coordination as well as information support functions of the SANDF. The role of the Directorate Geographic Information in the SANDF is the provision of support to defence planning, training and operations. The Directorate of Geographic Information is accountable for the Strategic Management of the Geographic Information function. Geographic information is created and delivered by the Director of Engineers, Joint Air Reconnaissance Intelligence Centre (JARIC) and the Hydrographer of the Army, Air Force and Navy respectively. DGI assures that geographic information process is conducted according to the applicable Directives and Policies. It is also the responsibility of DGI to establish and maintain strategic sources of geographic data to the SANDF; of which the acquisition of image data from space is an example. Therefore contracts and agreements with local and foreign capabilities are established and maintained. Geographic Information in the SANDF is presently changing from an analog to digital systems. Prime examples of this progress is the upgrading of the JARIC (Image Intelligence) and 4 Survey and Mapping Regiment (Computerized Mapping), both which is to be delivered shortly. While the computer based systems are seen as an essential need for the future, conventional mapping and imagery systems still have to provide an invaluable supplementary service to the SANDF for a substantial period.
The aim of the Directorate Covert Collection is to collect, through covert means, information that cannot be obtained in any other way. The Directorate's mandate is derived from the National Strategic Intelligence Act. 39 of 1994. The Directorate has succeeded in consolidating its activities in accordance with set priorities. Interdepartmental relations were maintained with the other intelligence organisations through the NICOC Sub Committees responsible for domestic and foreign covert collection.
Directorate Technology Support has as it's primary objectives the provision of computer support, technical/technology support, communications support as well as the provision of support for the electronic collection functions of subdivision collection. The continued expansion of international relations and the subsequent requirement for dependable communications by military attaches has necessitated the evaluation and planning of fulfilling these set requirements. A strategic information technology (IT) and information systems (IS) planning program for Intelligence systems has been finalised. The main thrust of this program i.e. the re-engineering of these processes has to be supported by a Technology reference model and the upgrading of hardware to support these processes. This strategic exercise was supposed to enhance the transformation process presently being conducted by the SANDF, however, it is being severely curtailed due to the lack of funds and the result of the budgetary cuts/adjustments.
The purpose of the section Defence Intelligence Information Centre is to provide an information support service to Defence Intelligence. The primary objectives are the timely provision of military related security information to Defence Intelligence through the effective utilisation of all collection agencies and the accessing or activation of all available information for Chief of Intelligence and the Defence Intelligence Community.
The purpose of the Chief of Foreign Relations is to promote and manage the foreign relations of the DoD in accordance with international obligations and conventions. This is done by pursuing, managing and administering a wide variety of activities, which can be subdivided into the following broad categories. Section Foreign Relations: The aim of the section is to manage the foreign relations of the SANDF. Presently the SANDF is represented in 44 countries abroad by 38 attachés while 27 countries are represented in the RSA. These figures do not include the two SANDF officers stationed at the UN in New York. The section also manages the implementation of military co-operation agreements.
Section Visits: The aim of the section is to render a service to the DoD regarding official visit arrangements. There was again a large number of visits, as 312 visits abroad took place, during 96/97. During the same period, there were 112 foreign visits to the SANDF.
Section Protocol: The Protocol Section of Chief of Foreign Relations is responsible for the provision of and control over all protocol activities including, decoration ceremonies, parades, lunches, dinners, gifts and tokens of goodwill for the Ministry of Defence, Chief of the SANDF, Defence Secretary and Chief of Foreign Relations, as well as the rendering of advice and counsel with respect to receptions, gifts and protocol correspondence to the Defence Community.
Foreign Attachés: The CFR is also responsible and deal with the foreign military attachés and liaison officers from defence forces in the RSA. A total of 36 foreign attachés are accredited to the RSA at present.
Attaché Administration: The activities of the attaché administration, which cover the wide spectrum of the personnel, logistics, finance and management services for CFR, were substantially extended during the processes of negotiation, integration and reorganisation. During the financial year of 96/97 this section was responsible for administration and logistics of 34 offices. The budget managed by this section during 96/97 was RM23,9.
The Inter-State Defence and Security Committee (ISDSC) operated under the chairmanship of the Minister of the Defence of Malawi during 1997. In June 1996 at the Summit of SADC Heads of State or Government in Gaborone the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security was established and President Mugabe of Zimbabwe was elected chairman of the Organ. At the summit the principles, objectives and institutional framework of the Organ was agreed upon. It was also agreed that the ISDSC was to be one of the institutions of the Organ together with the Foreign Affairs substructure which is still to be established. The ISDSC continued its work during 1997, both the Principle Secretaries of Defence and the Defence Chiefs of the member states met to discuss matters of mutual concern. The Operations Sub-subcommittee, Standing Aviation Committee, Standing Maritime Committee, Southern African Regional Military Chaplaincy Association and a number of working groups met during the course of the year. The Operations Sub-subcommittee has completed the Standing Operational Procedures (SOP's) for Disaster and Humanitarian Relief Support Operations in the region and the Framework for Regional Participation in Peace Support Operations. The SANDF participated in the regional peace support exercise Blue Hungwe which was hosted by Zimbabwe. It was also agreed that the SANDF should host a similar exercise in 1998. A regional telecommunications network was also agreed upon and would be operational after approval at the 19th Session of the ISDSC which was held in Lusaka, Zambia in November 1997 when the Minister of Defence of Zambia took over the chairmanship of the ISDSC.
The aim of Directorate Staff Support is to provide staff support services to Intelligence Division. This is done by managing and administrating a variety of functions which are subdivided into the following sections -
Section Personnel Maintenance: The aim of Section Personnel Maintenance is to perform personnel maintenance effectively in order to satisfy the needs of both Intelligence Division and the individual members of Intelligence Division. Section Personnel Maintenance is involved in the planning, management and administration of Service Conditions and Service Benefits such as leave, remuneration, allowances, termination of services as well as medals and decorations of members. There was a marked increase in the activities of the section due to the initiative of the voluntary termination of services, the general salary adjustments, the introduction of new medals, the planning and costing of the transformation of the SANDF and the auditing of all personnel files as well as the computerization of all leave records.
Section Personnel Utilisation: The aim of section personnel utilisation is to manage the staffing, career planning and personnel development of all SAMIS and civilian personnel at Intelligence Division. Much effort has gone into the integration of all former Statutory and Non Statutory force members which has impacted heavily on the training function. The last intake of former Non Statutory force members who have been integrated into the Division took place in March 97. It is expected that all former NSF members (excluding members from the last intake) will complete their bridging training by the end of 1998. Although the Division is dependant on the Arms of Service to provide joint military development training the process seems to be running smoothly and are awaiting results of the accreditation of courses done overseas. During 1997 members from the former non statutory forces and the former statutory forces were promoted according to the set criteria. This Division also embarked on an Adult Education programme at the beginning of 1997 which has members enrolled for secondary school education ranging from standard 5 (grade 7) to Std 10 (grade 12) who will be writing examinations at the end of 1997.
Section Management Services: The aim of section Management Services is to provide an effective management consultation service to Intelligence Division and Defence Intelligence. In order to maintain this aim the following functions are carried out by section Management Services; The initiation, promotion and implementation of efficient management practices within Intelligence Division. The provision of an organisation and work study service to Intelligence Division. The promotion of strategic planning and organisational development at Intelligence Division. The promotion of productivity and continuous quality improvement at Intelligence Division. To render an internal staff support service in support of Intelligence Division's participation in the SANDF's Transformation process. To support Chief of Intelligence's Defence Intelligence management responsibilities.
Section Financial Services: The aim of Section Financial Services is to maintain effective control over the administration regarding the budgeting process and expenditure control in accordance with Treasury and Financial regulations and procedures. The functions of the section are the following: The planning, leading, organising and control of the Section Finance. The processing of requests for expenditure and ensuring that the necessary authority for such expenditure exists. The co-ordination of the Intelligence Division budget.
Section Internal Services: The aim of Section Internal Services is to provide effective and efficient supporting services for Intelligence Division.
National Intelligence Agency [NIA]
|Three intelligence Acts passed by Parliament marked the formation of a new national Intelligence Service for South Africa. The Intelligence Services Act, 1994 (Act 38 of 1994), amalgamated the former intelligence structures into the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), which deals with domestic intelligence. The old National Intelligence Service, and the former intelligence services of Transkei, Bophuthatswana and Venda, the services of the African National Congress and the Pan Africanist Congress were integrated to form the new NIA. The new intelligence agency provides for a new and broader definition of national security, allegiance to the Constitution, subordination to the Rule of Law, a clearly defined legal mandate a mechanism for parliamentary oversight, budgetary control and external auditing, independent Inspectors-General for Intelligence, ministerial accountability, judicial authorisation for certain collection activities, the absence of law enforcement powers. The Agency gathers, correlates, evaluates and analyses domestic intelligence to identify threats or potential threats to the security of the Republic or its people, and to supply intelligence regarding any such threat to NICOC. National counter-intelligence responsibilities include conducting and co-ordinating counter-intelligence, and gathering, correlating, evaluating, analysing and interpreting information regarding counter-intelligence to identify threats or potential threats to the security of the Republic or its people. The Agency supplies, where necessary, intelligence relating to such threats to the South African Police Service for the purposes of investigating any offence or alleged offence|
South African Police Service [SAPS]
|Policing in South Africa underwent a radical change in 1994 in terms of transformation and democratisation. The previous 11 police agencies (SAP and 10 former homeland agencies) entered a process of amalgamation and rationalisation to create a single South African Police Service (SAPS) which functions at national and nine provincial levels. Policing in South Africa was traditionally dominated by laws that were non-democratic and which were rejected by the majority of people in the country. The transformation process will see a shift from a force to a service by means of community policing which is aimed at establishing an active and equal partnership between the police and the community. The managerial style of the new SAPS also began a process of transformation from an autocratic, bureaucratic and militaristic command to one that will be characterised by participation and problem solving. The Crime Combating and Investigation Division combats crime by means of effective utilisation of information and the application of expert methods of investigation. One of its many units is the National Investigation Service, which includes National counter-intelligence responsibilities of conducting and co-ordinating investigations of counter-intelligence offences referred to it by the National Intelligence Agency. The NIS also gathers, correlates, evaluates and uses crime intelligence in support of the functions of the South African Police Service, and is responsible for counter-intelligence measures within the South African Police Service, in order to supply crime intelligence relating to national strategic intelligence to NICOC. The Visible Policing Division includes units engaged in visible service through the prevention of crime, physical service, specialised guard services and an emergency policing service. The tasks of the Special Guard Unit are to guard various ministerial residential areas and office complexes; guard the President; guard SAPS Headquarters in Pretoria, and to protect Ministers or Deputy Ministers and other important people while travelling.|
South African Special Forces Brigade
as a Strategic Force carries out special operations independently or in
co-operation with other State Departments or Services, achieve national
objectives, internally or externally in peace and war. Such
operations will be executed in accordance with the constitution of the
RSA, the White Paper on Defence, the Defence Review and international
law, with oversight and approval at the highest operational level. The tales of the South African military,
police, and "Recce" units have often been told. The South
Africans are revered through out the world for their fighting abilities.
On October 1, 1972, 1 Reconnaissance Commando was brought online at
Oudtshoorn, South Africa. It was was relocated a few years later to
Durban, South Africa. This was the first South African Special Forces
unit. In 1975, during the move of 1 RC to Durban, 4
Reconnaissance Commando was established in Langebaan, South Africa. This
unit was set up to perform maritime operations. 5 Reconnaissance
Commando which had been set up at the Duku-Duku camp in Northern Natal,
was again moved to Phalaborwa. In 1981, the Special Forces became an
independent structure no longer under control of the Army. Now they
answered only to the Defense Force (which the Army is a part of). Most
of the Commando units were still classified as Regiments. Later a
Headquarters unit was added as well. In 1991 changes happened again. The
Headquarters unit of the Special Forces was disbanded and a Directorate
of Reconnaissance was formed. He answered only to the Chief of the Army.
In 1993, wouldn't you know it, the SF went through yet another change.
They were called 45 Parachute Brigade. All RC units now added the prefix
"45" to whatever number they were already; hence
"451" and "452". In 1996, it was renamed again. This time the
Special Forces Brigade. It has two active Regiments and 1 Maintenance
Unit. The Maintenance unit1 RC was disbanded and combined with the other
two Special Forces Regiments. Although the former "Recce"
units were more well known, the Special Forces Brigade (the modern "Recce"
Units) is now more powerful and more deadly then it's former self.
The South African "Recces" were deployed to many local hot spots during the late 1970's and early 1980's, particularly Angola. The main enemy then was a terrorist group known as SWAPO(South West Africa's People's Organization). It was an all black guerrilla organization who wanted Namibia separated from the rest of South Africa. Many operations were conducted by parachute drop. The SWAPO proved to be a formidable enemy. Members of the Recces carried black face paint with them at all times while o patrol in hopes of making themselves look black (to help the white soldiers pass as SWAPO guerrillas. One of the tasks of the Recce Commandos is that of gathering intelligence on activity in enemy rear areas. The execution of special operations in the enemy rear also falls within their ambit. In general, they could be described as specialists in strategic intelligence, although the war against PLAN insurgents has seen them carry out tactical intelligence-gathering missions. On occasion, they have also been used as an elite combat element, as was the case in operations during 1982 which were aimed at the elimination of two PLAN front headquarters. Normally, however, the superbly trained Recces are too valuable to risk in a combat role despite their undoubted efficiency. As is the case with their equivalents in other countries, they are best employed in a covert observation role. Little has been released about how Recces are organized or how they operate. It has been said, however, that the basic element is the five- or six-man team wherein each member is a specialist some kind. A typical team might include tracker, a navigator, a medic, an explosives expert and a signaler. On the other hand, there have also been occasion references to reconnaissance teams; small as two men operating well inside Angola, which can safely be taken to mean the Recces. Operational and tactical details are non-existent, which is only natural considering that the Recces must rely always on stealth for the success of their missions and often for their very survival. Broadcasting these methods would be one way of committing suicide. The only information available this regard is that they are trained in the use of boats, and that they do have some armed and modified vehicles among the equipment. Given the thinly populated nature of much of southern Africa, it does not take too much imagination to see them sometimes operating in a style not dissimilar to that of the British Special Air Service (SAS) of World War II.
Both the selection procedure and the actual
training of the Recces are very stiff indeed, putting even the Paras and
Battalion in the shade. Above all, every effort is made to avoid
roughnecks and 'muscle-bound morons.' While the Recce must be very fit
indeed, they also need more than an average intellect to carry c their
mission. Strong character and a considerate nature are additional
requirements for their role: any weakness of character or inability to
get along with other team members could all too easily spell the failure
of a given operation. The toughness of the selection process is
demonstrated by the fact that a typical year may see up to 700
applicants - in themselves a select group - of whom perhaps 45 make the
grade. It is also interesting that more than 5 percent of the Recces
have their matric, and not a few hold university qualifications in very
diverse subjects. Two selection courses are held each year, prior
to which recruiters visit various units to outline the nature and role
of the unit and its training programme. They also show films of the
process to ensure that there are no false impressions among potential
applicants. Potential candidates then undergo thorough medical and
psychological examinations and are quizzed about their reasons for
wanting to join and what they think they can contribute to the unit.
Even prior to this very searching interview, they must pass a PT test
Those who pass this PT test, plus the medical and psychological examinations, and convince the selection board that they have something to offer the unit, can then enter the three-week pre-selection programme course! This kicks off with two weeks of strenuous PT for eight hours a day to prepare aspirants for the rigours of the selection programme proper. Some lectures on relevant subjects are thrown in with the same purpose. Usually some 20 percent of the applicants drop out during this phase - eloquent testimony to its harshness, given the standard of fitness required even for entry. This is followed by a one-week water orientation programme in Zululand. This tests the candidates' adaptability to water and their adeptness in small boats. Instruction is given in the use of kayaks, two-seater canoes and motor boats. Navigation exercises take candidates many kilometres through swamps, and there is an 8-km race with poles over the dunesone four-man pole per two men. Candidates are allowed to form up into teams of their choice during this phase and are watched closely for teamwork and leadership; a buddy rating is called for toward the end of the phase. Rations are gradually reduced during the week. Candidates are rated for adaptability, swimming and other water skills, ability to work under difficult circumstances and stress, resistance to cold, claustrophobia, co-ordination and fitness. The remaining candidates are then flown to the Operational Area for the final phase of the selection programme. The first week here takes the form of a bush orientation/survival course during which they are taught which plants are edible, which give water, how to get a fire going without matches and how to cope with lions and elephants. The first day of this course sees the candidates stripped and searched for cigarettes, tobacco, sweets and toiletries - only kit and medical items are left to them. They are then given time to build a shelter with their ground sheet; which must be dug in 45 cm and are marked on its neatness, practicality and originality. Rations are further reduced and water is limited to five litters a day per man.
Apart from the survival training, PT stays with them throughout: a typical day might include an hour of PT before a breakfast consisting largely of water; observation tests wherein candidates are given a fixed route to follow on which they must identify and note down ten different objects; three runs over an assault course -- the last with a 35-kg pack, including a mortar-bomb container filled with cement; a five-km run along an gully without their kit, followed by loading up again and carrying a tree trunk back to their camp. During this phase the candidates are evaluated for adaptability; water discipline; bush navigation; fear of the dark, animals and heights; ability to do without food; care of weapons and equipment; memory; powers of observation; leadership; and the ease with which they move in bush. Particular emphasis is placed on the ability to get on with others while under stress. A second buddy rating is called for. This phase ends in a spate of automatic rifle fire that heralds the next stage which is intended to try the candidates psycho logically to the uttermost - and succeeds Then comes the 'crunch' phase. One morning the men are told that, 'The courseis 51 degrees magnetic. You walk 38 km and your RV is l900 hours this evening at a dirt landing strip. If you make it, you may get some food.' Twenty km along they are met by some of the instructors and allowed to fill their water bottles - while the instructors drink and spill ice-cold soft drinks. On arrival at the RV, each man is given eight biscuits - only to discover that they are contaminated with petrol and totally inedible. Meanwhile, the instructors have a happy barbecue picnic which any candidate can join - if he is only willing to drop out. Finally, the candidates are put into the bush for five days with a tin of condensed milk, half a 24-hour ration pack and twelve biscuits, eight of which are soaked in petrol. Elephant, lion, and bush fires are among the problems of this final stretch. When they finally get to their last rendezvous, the men are given a new bearing and told there are another 30 kilometres to go. Those who go on find the instructors around the next corner. Seventeen percent make it. Those who survive the selection programme must then complete and pass the parachute course before being accepted into the Recces. The actual Recce training lasts some 42 weeks and includes tracking, survival, weapons handling, explosives, unconventional warfare, unarmed combat, mountaineering, guerrilla tactics, bush- and field craft, map reading, day and night navigation and signalling. Throughout this training they are also taught how to handle enemy equipment in each of the categories. Physical training naturally also stays with them and, in fact, reaches new peaks in what is demanded and achieved. The final test is a night or two in lion country with rifle, ammunition and a box of matches. The new Recce is now posted to a team in one of the existing Recce Commandos specializing in whatever he proved best suited to during his training. After serving in such a team for a while, members can choose to specialize further in this direction or in other areas like military free-fall parachuting or sea training. The latter includes combat diving, kayak work, small boat handling, coastal and deep-sea navigation and sailing. Given the demands of their selection and training, the Recces will always be a very small group of men, a group that others look up to as examples of the ultimate individual soldier. Envy plays no part in this, for their work is easily as demanding and often as unpleasant as their training. Only a special sort of man would seriously want to join.
Requirements are as follows: Must be a South African Citizen (however I have heard of foreigners particularly Brits being allowed to join). Must have graduated school. Must have at least one year service in the Active, Reserves, or Voluntary Forces. You may also apply with one year on the Police Force. Must speak 2 languages. No SERIOUS criminal offence. Must be between 18 and 28 as of when training starts.
Ranks: NCO; Private to S.Sergeant
Officers; Candidate Officer to Captain.
Training is divided into 5 sections:
The Physical Test looks like this: 40 continues push ups, 67 sit ups in 2 min. Fireman lift. 3 Kilometre run in full gear in 18 min. Perform a rope climb (to show upper body strength). 40 shuttle runs in 95 sec. Wall scaling. A student must scale a 10 foot high wall. 15 Kilometre March in under 150 minutes. 120 shuttle kicks.
Parachute Selection Course:
Special Force Orientation Course:
Special Forces Selection:
Advanced Airborne Training: A recruit will be taught about military free fall such as HALO (High Altitude, Low Opening) and HAHO (High Alititude, High Opening). They will also learn about helicopter operations. How to rappel an fast rope out of helicopters. Also STABO extraction is also taught, along with learning how to set up an LZ (or Landing Zone).
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