New special task force officers boost SAPS elite unit in fight against serious crimes
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Pretoria - The SAPS has welcomed a batch of newly trained special task force operatives, to join the elite unit in combating serious crimes.
The 11 officers, whose identities must not be known, made it past thousands who tried for the prestigious force and underwent intense training.
Divisional Commissioner for Visible Policing and Operations, Lieutenant-General Michael Motlhala welcomed the group clad in camouflage on Friday, while the cohort stood on parade at the Tshwane Police Academy in Pretoria West.
The 11 were selected from more than 1 433 applicants from as far back as 2017, and were celebrated as being the only ones who made the special task force wings which are worn on the left chest.
The insignia signifies that the recipient has been trained at a high level of weapon proficiency, hostage release tactics, and has the ability to deploy operationally by parachute.
Police spokesperson Colonel Athlenda Mathe said the special task force operators’ badge, which was the symbol of a qualified SAPS hostage release and counter-terrorism, was also awarded to the 11 after working operationally on a two-year probation period. There are now only 93 specific task force operatives in the country, and they are posted in Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria. They specialise in responding to high-risk incidents which include hostage incidents, search-and-rescue missions as well as specialised operations support.
Motlhala congratulated all members on parade and said: “You are indeed the best of the best. You have endured rigorous training and emerged victorious. You have been thoroughly prepared to begin your careers in the special task force.
“We urge you to remember all that you have learnt and implement within the confines of the law to make South Africa a much better and safer place to live in. This is indeed a huge responsibility bestowed upon you. We wish you the best of luck as we strive to achieve the National Development Plan Vision 2030 where all in South Africa are and feel safe.”
Mathe said to join this elite unit, members must be aged 32 and younger, and must have served in an operational environment for at least two years.
Members must have been successful in the pre-selection phase which consisted of various rigorous exercises that would determine whether they were able to endure the 20-month-long training programme.