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Military base under siege by locals stealing electricity cables and damaging water pipes

FILE. Picture: Timothy Bernard/ African News Agency(ANA)

FILE. Picture: Timothy Bernard/ African News Agency(ANA)

Published Apr 26, 2022

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A MILITARY base in Pretoria, which is being threatened with invasion by civilians and pillaging, has been forced to generate its own electricity and install water tanks for its day-to-day needs.

The Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans visited the Special Forces School in Murrayhill on Saturday.

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The Special Forces School trains operatives to be combat-ready for deployment anywhere in the country within a short space of time. The visit by the committee included a walkabout in the Urban Training Facility that forms part of a training programme for special forces and new recruits.

During the visit, the school highlighted some of its challenges included the encroachment of civilians, who built houses and other structures close to the school’s perimeter fences.

The school also highlighted challenges caused by those living close by, who steal electricity cables and destroy water pipes supplying the school.

The school claimed the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure had abandoned its role of repairing damaged infrastructure.

“There must be a clear decision from the command council in terms of the lands surrounding the bases,” said the acting chairperson of the committee, Thabo Mmutle.

The committee recommended the school should consider installing boreholes as a source of water.

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The committee added the electricity challenges could be addressed if the school also looked into investing in solar power to ensure its operations were not solely dependent on the national grid.

The committee said the school should write to it and state exactly what support it required.

The committee also visited the headquarters of the Department of Military Veterans (DMV) in Hatfield for a briefing on its facilities and the DMV’s call centre.

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The lease for Department of Military Veterans headquarters expired at the end of November 2018 and the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure is attempting to find a suitable building.

According to the DMV, the call centre was fully operational except for minor issues. The committee said that it would need to have another interactive session with the DMV to discuss broader issues that affected the department.

It recommended the DMV should provide full details of the problems it faced so that the committee could make proper recommendations.

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