Women in armed forces strike at law breakers

Traffic and police officials, as well as soldiers joined in the women-only operation near Komatipoort last week.

KOMATIPOORT – Operation Vavasati saw women from the local and provincial traffic departments, the department of justice, SAPS, SARS (customs), Tracker SA, Trade and Investment SA, and NESTA simultaneously dispersed from the Macadamia base camp to Dludluma T-junction and Goba R571 to Mbuzini T-junction, to set up roadblocks.

Operation Vavasati was an intiative by the acting officer commanding joint tactical headquarters Mpumalanga, Lt Col Elaine van Staden, and aimed to stop all illegal activities across the borderlines.

The female soldiers deployed in the Zonstraal, Sand River and Macadamia base camps were ready to ensure 100 per cent security while traffic and police officers conducted the stop-and-search of vehicles, backed up by their male counterparts.

The first female-only operation in the province started early in the morning, with searches at local schools.

“We started at Mdladla Primary School to motivate pupils and taught them that crime did not pay,” said Lt Col Thuli Mvalo of Tonga SAPS.

This was followed by several roadblocks and concluded with a raid in Naas, which proved to be very successful.

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Women from SAPS, SANDF and the traffic department worked together during roadblocks.

During the roadblocks, fines to the amount of R75 000 were issued and two vehicles were impounded.  Contraband goods, illegal cigarettes and alcohol to the value of R95 000 were recovered and one AK-47 was found.

“The operation contributed to the overall success of the current deployment. It also stabilised the area and demonstrated the effectiveness of the joint operations concept,” said Van Staden.

The event concluded on Saturday at Elangeni Lodge with a special celebration for the women. They were entertained by the melodic sounds of the SAPS Middelburg choir, the Sonic group and a performance by the Zonstraal Base Camp ladies.

Tebogo Ledwaba and Jeanette Chirwa were among the beautifully dressed guests at the function.

Tebogo Ledwaba and Jeanette Chirwa were among the beautifully dressed guests at the function.

They also received motivation from Pastor Portia Luthuli and presentations from Sanlam, Liberty life and Old Mutual regarding finances.

“The event was to commemorate Women’s Day and focused on celebrating the successful participation of female soldiers in Operation Corona (internal border safeguarding) during their six-month deployment in the Mpumalanga area of responsibility,” Van Staden explained.

The SANDF women were appreciated for their valuable assistance in the success of Operation Corona for best support females, best support combat female and the best combater female.

Certificates of appreciation were also handed over to sponsors The Army foundation, Old Mutual, Liberty Life, Sanlam Sky and Sanlam.

“This event was not a one-woman show,” said Van Staden as she appreciated the sterling job done by the men and women, especially the battalion troop leaders.  “The success of the ladies whom we celebrate today, they were not alone in the bush. They were surrounded by good leaders who worked with them and mentored them.”

View more photos here.

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