Durban - A 31-year-old constable has made history by becoming the South African Police Services' first woman officer to complete the Special Task Force’s (STF) Selection Training Programme – without any special amendments.
The STF is the only paramilitary unit in the SAPS and falls under the Specialised Operations Component, led by a woman commander, Major General Nonhlanhla Zulu.
Together with other units and components, they report to the organisation’s first woman Deputy National Commissioner, Lieutenant General Tebello Mosikili.
The officer, who cannot be named due to the nature of her work, successfully completed the training without any amendments to the training to suit women. The member, with 11 years service, is regarded as the only woman police officer to have successfully completed the STF training programme without any amendments to the training to suit women.
She is also the only woman police officer currently serving in the STF unit as an operational member.
This week, the officer lined up in a platoon alongside her male counterparts as they were bestowed their STF parachute wings by SAPS National Commissioner, General Fannie Masemola at an event in Pretoria.
Hailing from the Western Cape, she said her momentous achievement must be a motivation for other women who continue to break barriers in male-dominated environments.
“If you really want something, you must do everything to obtain it. I wanted to be part of the best, either the best or nothing. If I can do it, other women can and will be able to do it," she said.
Out of 906 applications to join this elite unit, 589 applicants qualified for provisional selection. Ultimately, only 93 applicants reported for selection of which only 11 successfully completed the STF Basic Training programme. Suffice to say, the 11 successful candidates, together with currently serving 10 STF members, have done the organisation proud.
Masemola said all members on parade have shown dedication and commitment to their profession.
He added that the STF selection criteria is very stringent and those who are selected, must prove their mettle throughout their intensive and rigorous training.
Established in 1976, the STF's mandate includes responding and providing operational support to only high risk incidents which include terrorism and hostage-related incidents, rescue missions among a host of other high risk situations.