3 SA Infantry (SAI) Battalion in Kimberley, one of the SA Army’s two top training facilities, is the second SA National Defence Force (SANDF) base where newly recruited crime prevention wardens (CPWs) from Gauteng are undergoing military-type training.
The unit, along with 1 Construction Regiment at Dunnottar in the Gauteng province, will for the next eight weeks be home to 1 785 AmaPanyaza, referring to Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi, whose brainchild the CPWs are in an initiative to curb crime in South Africa’s economic hub. Reports have it four military bases/units will be used to boost skillsets needed for crime prevention.
The Kimberley unit, known as “the Griffons”, is no newcomer to “outsiders” in its lines, having previously been a training base for newly recruited SA Police Service (SAPS) constables.
Johannesburg daily The Citizen has it the training will “equip” the CPWs with skills needed for “specific roles such as handling land invasions, combating illegal mining, managing illegal liquor establishments and ensuring school safety”. The CPWs now in the Northern Cape provincial capital will reportedly receive training in firearm use, drill, radio procedure, crowd control and first aid as well as search and rescue.
On the CPW “intake” at 3 SAI, SA Army Corporate Communications reported the training at the infantry base is in support of the Gauteng Department of Community Safety (DCS).
Welcoming the 1 300 new arrivals on 4 February, Brigadier General DM Madie, Officer Commanding the SA Army Training Formation, told them discipline would be “the crux” of their time in Kimberley, which ends on 28 March. They will also “be exposed” to “robust” physical training.
1 Construction Regiment at Dunnotar is hosting 485 CPW trainees, who arrived at the base on 4 February.
The wardens were last year declared peace officers by the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services, meaning they will have the power of arrest and can carry a firearm.
In May 2023, Gauteng deployed an initial 3 200 out of six thousand wardens to hotspots across the province following three months’ training.