Celebrating achievements of Women at the borders
By: Kgabo Mashamaite
Women who contributed to the success of the Operation Corona for the past year had their efforts recognised through the Joint Tactical Headquarters Mpumalanga (J TAC HQ MP) Women’s Day celebrations held on 24 August 2012 at Hazeyview outside Nelspruit.
Their recognition came as a result of their involvement in numerous successes in cross-border crime prevention methods in 2011 which saw South African National Defence Force (SANDF) successes in the interception of illicit goods, the arrest of rhino poachers and the combating of other related transnational criminal activities.
In his opening address Col Nceba Bobelo, the OC J TAC HQ Mpumalanga, said the event was aimed at celebrating the courage of female soldiers deployed at the borders of the country.
“As we recognise the 56th anniversary of the historic march by women from all walks of life in protest against the pass laws in Pretoria, we also celebrate your bravery, courage and contribution to the success of the Operation Corona missions. Gathered in this hall today are gallant women soldiers the SANDF can be proud of. Your unquestionable loyalty and enthusiasm is an embodiment of the great values of the Department of Defence. You have left an indelible mark in contributing to the SANDF’s constitutional mandate of protecting the territorial integrity of the country and ensuring that its citizens are safe on the land, air and sea. The people of Mpumalanga never felt this safe and they will always remember you for years to come,” Col Bobelo said to over 100 ladies deployed at the Macadamia, Sand River and Zonestral posts.
A short presentation on human trafficking was also made to enable the delegates to recognise the signs of Human Trafficking.
In her presentation Ms Miranda Mhlanga, Coordinator Human Trafficking Task Team at the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development in Mpumalanga, highlighted various aspects of human trafficking.
“Many victims are young women and children who are lured by syndicates on false pretences. They are promised anything, including better job opportunities, career advancement, the good life and a fat cheque. The victims only realise once they have crossed the border to the other side what their real occupations are. They are likely to be used as sex slaves, drug mules or any thing else to generate money for the syndicates. Members of the public should be wary of stories that seem too good to be true, such as advertisements placed in newspapers offering jobs to people to work overseas with fully paid flight tickets and accommodation,” Ms Mhlanga warned.
Meanwhile Pte Lerato Motubatse from the 1 SAI Bn was presented with the Ops Corona award by the J TAC HQ Mpumalanga for being the most courageous, confident, intelligent and smart soldier and a lady in executing her duties. Lt Col Elaine van Staden also received the J TAC HQ Mpumalanga Woman of the Year award for her outstanding leadership qualities. A special award was presented posthumously to Sapper E. Thomas, who was killed in an accident while performing border duties. The J TAC HQ Mpumalanga has dedicated a mess in her honour to be inaugurated later this year. Among the artists who provided entertainment at the event were Mr Willem van Staden, Pte Josephina Nukeri, and A,B, C Company choirs as well as Ops Rhino ladies.