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The RFC, is a statutory body under the Defence Act, comprises members of the Reserve Units, individuals and associations. It acts as the representative of the Reserves (ResF), Volunteer or  Part-Time forces, component of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), and serves as an advisory body on all matters concerning the Reserves in the SANDF.  The RFC assists in promoting and maintaining the Reserves as an integral part of the SANDF.

This RFC website is the primary communication channel for all information relevant to Reserves in South Africa. Please register, top right corner, so that we can keep you updated at all times. We would appreciate your comments, suggestions and articles so that we can fullfill our role of communicating with our stakeholders - send an email to

All views of individual associations, organisations and individuals are theirs and not those of the RFC.



News November 2015
Written by Reuters, Thursday, 26 November 2015

South Africa's High Court has lifted a ban on the local trade in rhino horn imposed by the government in 2009 after finding that the state had not followed the process of public participation before imposing the moratorium, media reported on Thursday.

The ruling came after an application by two of South Africa's largest rhino farmers who wanted to overturn government's moratorium on the domestic trade in rhino horn, the online editions of the IOL News and the Citizen said.


Written by Reuters, Thursday, 26 November 2015

A French soldier has died after suffering injuries in Mali when his vehicle was attacked by "terrorist groups", the French President's office said in a statement on Thursday.

The soldier, who held a sergeant's role in a parachute regiment, suffered the injuries in October in the north of Mali when a landmine blew up his vehicle, according to the statement.

France has a large military presence in Mali, which has witnessed attacks by Islamist militants in recent years, including one earlier this month on a luxury hotel in the Mali capital of Bamako.

Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda seized Mali's desert north in 2012 following a separatist uprising but were scattered by a French military operation the following year.

The attack on the hotel in Bamako earlier this month came just a week after Islamic State attacks in Paris killed 130 people.


Written by Reuters, Thursday, 26 November 2015

Rebels in Central African Republic have kidnapped, burnt and buried alive "witches" in public ceremonies, exploiting widely held superstitions to control areas in the war-torn country, according to a leaked United Nations report.

The report by U.N. human rights officers, seen exclusively by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, contains graphic photographs of victims tied to wooden stakes being lowered towards a fire as well as the charred torsos of those subjected to the ritual.

The torture took place between December 2014 and early 2015 under instruction from leaders of the mainly Christian "anti-balaka" militia that has been fighting Muslim Seleka rebels across the country for more than two years, said the report.

Central African Republic was plunged into sectarian violence when Muslim rebels briefly seized power in the largely Christian country in March 2013, with escalating violence on both sides creating lawlessness nationwide outside the capital Bangui.

Written by Reuters, Thursday, 26 November 2015

China's military is in talks with the Horn of Africa country Djibouti to build logistics "facilities" to support Chinese peacekeeping and anti-piracy missions, the foreign and defense ministries said on Thursday.

In May, Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh told French media his government was in talks with China about a military base, adding Beijing's presence would be welcome in the former French colony, which borders Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the facilities would mainly provide logistics services to resolve issues related to fuelling, rest and reorganization of troops and food supplies.

"The construction of the relevant facilities will help China's navy and army further participate in UN peacekeeping operations, carry out escort missions in the waters near Somalia and the Gulf of Aden, and provide humanitarian assistance," he told a daily news briefing.

"It will help China's military further carry out its international responsibilities to safeguard global and regional peace and stability.

Written by Reuters, Thursday, 26 November 2015

A Syrian military source said rebels are making heavy use of U.S.-made anti-tank missiles paid for by Saudi Arabia and supplied via Turkey in recent weeks and the weapons are having an impact on the battlefield.

The so-called TOW missile is the most potent weapon in the arsenal of rebel groups battling President Bashar al-Assad, and has been seen in action more frequently since Russia intervened with air strikes on Syria on Sept 30.

A rebel group was shown using one of the guided missiles to destroy a grounded Russian helicopter in Syria on Tuesday.

Addressing the increased supplies of TOW missiles for the first time, the Syrian military source said they had an impact on the fighting, but played down their overall significance, saying the army was gaining ground.

"Through the course of the battles it became apparent that the terrorists have a bigger quantity of American anti-armour TOW weapons. They started using this weapon intensively," said the source. The Syrian government describes all the insurgents fighting it as terrorists.


Written by Reuters, Thursday, 26 November 2015

China will strengthen its cooperation with Africa in the fight against violent extremism after an attack last week by Islamist militants in Mali killed 19 people, including three Chinese citizens, China's foreign minister said on Thursday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping called for relevant departments to boost security work outside China's borders last week after gunmen attacked a hotel in Mali's capital on Nov. 20.

The three Chinese citizens killed in the hotel attack were executives from the state-owned China Railway Construction Corp.

"As China continues to promote pragmatic cooperation between China and Africa, we will strengthen bilateral cooperation in counter-terrorism and the fight against extremism," Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in a speech to diplomats and reporters.

He did not give any details.

Written by Dean Wingrin, Thursday, 26 November 2015

The Spanish Navy's offshore patrol vessel ESPS Meteoro (P41) arrived in Cape Town on 25 November for a two-day visit.

Invited by the South African Navy (SA Navy), the Meteoro has just completed a four-month mission under Operation Atalanta, fighting piracy off the Gulf of Aden and Somalia as part of the European Union Naval Force. During her time on operations, Meteoro conducted counter-piracy patrols and helped to protect World Food Programme (WFP) vessels from potential pirate attacks.

Having left her home port of Las Palmas in the Canary Islands at the beginning of August to start her deployment with Operation Atalanta, the ship, under the command of Lieutenant Commander José Almira, departed the area of operations on 15 November and arrived in Cape Town ten days later.

Acts of piracy in the Operation Atalanta area of operations have reduced considerably due to the presence of international naval vessels. Almira noted that there are currently very few hostile attacks on merchant shipping in the region.

“Thanks to the success of Atalanta, piracy off Somalia is contained,” Almira said of his mission, “not eradicated, as it can come back at any time.

Written by Guy Martin, Thursday, 26 November 2015

The majority of Department of Defence (DoD) facilities are in fair and acceptable condition, with only 1% being described as good, according to the latest DoD annual report, which notes that the new Works Formation is attempting to address the massive backlog from the National Department of Public Works (NDPW) when it comes to maintaining South African National Defence Force facilities.

In its 2014/15 annual report, the Department of Defence stated that its facilities are “1% good, 38% acceptable, 55% fair, 4% poor, and 2% very poor.”

One who has long been unhappy about the way military facilities and infrastructure is being neglected by Public Works is SANDF Chief, General Solly Shoke. He reinstated the Army’s Works Regiment while he was chief of the landward arm of the SANDF. He saw the regiment stepping in to do the work that Public Works apparently couldn’t get round to. In the first two years of its re-establishment the regiment built a military hospice at Lenasia, south of Johannesburg, and finished extensive refurbishing of a military mess in Thaba Tshwane.

The 2014/15 annual report again highlights unhappiness with the Public Works department: the DoD was anticipating the NDPW to complete 70% of the capital works projects during the year under review, but due to “continued slow progress,” only 5 projects (20.6%) were completed. “The NDPW managed to spend only 34.43% allocated by the DoD for maintenance, thereby greatly contributing towards the increase in the backlog,” the annual report notes, with an amount of R263.645 million out of a total allocation of R782.311 million actually being spent.

The Works Formation aims to address these shortcomings. According to the annual report, “the Defence Works Formation was established in FY2012/13 to attend to the maintenance of infrastructure and faci

Written by defenceWeb, Thursday, 26 November 2015

The findings of Auditor General Kimi Makwetu and his team on the country’s collective defence organisation can be described as good, with exceptions.
A major exception is the Special Defence Account (SDA), according to the latest Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) audit. The audit outcome for the SDA is not included in Makwetu’s report and this impacts on the comparability of information presented for particularly the Department of Defence (DoD).

“While the audit has been finalised, the impact of the sensitive activities was still under consideration to determine the impact on the audit opinion. As a result the audit report was finalised by August 14, the cut-off date.”

There are four so-called “auditees” in the defence portfolio. They are the Department of Defence (DoD), the Department of Military Veterans (DMV), Armscor, the Castle Control Board and the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).

According to the report total budgeted expenditure for the 2014/15 financial year was R42.9 billion. The main areas of expenditure are capital (R521.9 million), salaries and wages (R22.5 billion), goods and services (R12 billion) and transfer payments (R7.9 billion).

Written by defenceWeb, Wednesday, 25 November 2015

An Armscor project team has compiled a report for its chief executive following submissions of Requests for Information (RFI) for another VVIP aircraft but the State’s defence and security acquisition agency has gone defensive and will not be making any announcements.
Lulu Mzili, Armscor General Manager: Marketing and Business, said a decision to “say nothing” was taken on Monday.

This after defenceWeb learnt the Armscor project team tasked with overseeing the acquisition of the aircraft spent most of the first working day of the week “consolidating” all offers received. This information was presented to chief executive Kevin Wakeford.

Mzili said that no public statements would be made at this stage. This included the number of RFIs received and who submitted them as well as the issue and closing dates of a possible Request for Proposals (RFP).

Without any update from Armscor, the delivery date of March 31, 2016, as originally set still appears to be on. This leaves just on four months, including the December holiday break, for the RFP to be issued and returned so that the Armscor project team can evaluate and assess it before making a decision and forwarding this to the Defence Ministry and Secretariat for final approval.

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News October 2015
Written by Reuters, Friday, 30 October 2015

Suspected poachers have used cyanide to kill 23 elephants in Zimbabwe's Hwange national park, raising the death toll there and in the northern part of the country to 60 since late September, officials said on Thursday.

Hwange national park in western Zimbabwe currently hosts 53,000 elephants, twice the park's carrying capacity.

Park rangers recovered most of the tusks after the 23 elephants were killed with the deadly poison last Friday but poachers got away with three tusks, officials said.

Cyanide is widely used in Zimbabwe's mining industry and is relatively easy to obtain.

"The possibilities of trying to control this huge source of cyanide, which is creating so much revenue for the country, is going to be extremely difficult for us to do," said Brant Williamson, a local conservationist told the state broadcaster.

Written by defenceWeb, Friday, 30 October 2015

Drone Crew has received its Remote Operator Certificate (ROC) from the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), making it the first fully licensed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operator in the South African film industry.

The receipt of the certificate on 23 October makes it the third fully licensed operator overall in South Africa (the others being in anti-rhino poaching and mining sectors).

“We would like to thank all involved at SACAA and DOT [Department of Transport] for processing our application in a professional manner, and our entire team of experts for their hard work and commitment to the process, as well as all those who have supported us and cheered us on along the way. This is a great milestone for us, and we look forward to leading the way in providing a safe and reliable service in this specialised part of the film industry,” Drone Crew said.

Drone Crew specialises in high end drone filming services for the film industry. Flying cameras such as the RED Dragon/Epic/Scarlet or the Arri Alexa Mini, to capture low level aerial footage.

“Considerable extra effort was needed to get approvals for what are considered higher risk operations, but we felt it worthwhile to achieve these approvals to be able to deliver on common requirements for drone operations on film sets,” Drone Crew said.

Written by Reuters, Friday, 30 October 2015

A long-awaited regional task force is set to begin raids on Boko Haram's last enclaves when the rainy season ends soon, the U.N.'s top official in West Africa said.

Nigerian and Chadian forces early this year forced the militant group, which has sworn allegiance to Islamic State, to cede large swathes of territory in northern Nigeria, undermining its six-year campaign to carve out a caliphate.

But some fighters have since regrouped and ramped up suicide attacks and guerrilla raids in the remote border areas around Lake Chad where Chad, Niger, Cameroon and Nigeria meet.

"They will take advantage of the end of the rainy season now to really go after them," said Mohamed Ibn Chambas, U.N. Special Representative for West Africa, in an interview on Wednesday. The rains in northeast Nigeria typically end in September but have lasted longer this year.

The 8,700-strong joint force, headquartered in Chad's capital N'Djamena with troops from Chad, Niger, Benin, Nigeria and Cameroon, was supposed to be fully functional in July.

Written by US National Guard, Friday, 30 October 2015

This year, the US National Guard Bureau's State Partnership Program expanded to include a partnership between the Djiboutian Armed Forces and the Kentucky National Guard, and one between the Massachusetts National Guard and Kenya Defence Forces.

These two new partnerships are a continuation of the program's goals, said Guard officials familiar with the program.

"The goal of the program is to foster enduring relationships beyond military-to-military, beyond military-to civilian, and encourage civilian-to-civilian engagements, as well as foster opportunities for our National Guard Soldiers and Airmen to remain operationally ready through opportunities to exchange best practices," said Army Lt. Col. Shaun Mistlebauer, branch chief of the Atlantic Branch, State Partnership Program and International Engagements Division, at the NGB.

The partnerships with Kenya and Djibouti also support the objectives of the combatant command in that area, Mistlebauer said.

The NGB's State Partnership Program began in 1993 with National Guard elements from three U.S. states pairing with newly independent, former Soviet republics. Since then it has grown significantly, now with 76 partnerships around the world.

Written by Kim Helfrich, Friday, 30 October 2015

Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula did not receive elaborate gifts, according to the Register of Members’ Interests published this week.

Under “Gifts and hospitality” she lists having received an army stick, an Airbus replica, a Spanish naval shield (all from the Spanish Ministry of Defence), a frame, a “colourful painted glass stand and sword” (both from the Chinese Ministry of Defence), a scarf from the Russian Ministry of Defence and “three metres of indigenous Ugandan fabric” from that country’s Defence Ministry. Also listed are a business card holder, a gold plated round world map and stand (all given to her by Russia’s MilTech Corporation) as well as eight tickets to the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, a “liquor donation” from SA Breweries and a discounted marquee. The last two items were for her daughter’s wedding.

She did not disclose any shares, financial interests, retainers, contracts, trusts or “encumberences” (sic).

The Defence Minister is also not a major league jet setter. The latest Department of Defence annual report shows she went on 12 trips outside South Africa during the 2014/15 financial year.

These were to Equatorial Guinea for the AU summit; Angola three times for two International Great Lakes Region/SADC ministerial meetings and the tripartite mechanism between Angola, the DRC and South Africa; France for the Bastille Day parade; the United Kingdom for the Farnborough airshow; Zimbabwe for the 34th SADC Heads of State Summit; the United States twice for the UN General Assembly and UN Women’s Conference; Ethiopia for the 24th Ordinary AU Summit; the UAE for IDEX and Cuba “to discuss matters of bilateral defence co-operation”.

Written by ISS Africa, Friday, 30 October 2015

Africa has a very serious justice deficit. That should really be the lens through which to view the controversy about the International Criminal Court (ICC) and its alleged bias against Africa. Justice simply cannot keep up with atrocities on the continent. This was again brought home forcefully by the horrifying details that are now officially emerging from the Obasanjo report into the civil war in South Sudan.

The report by the African Union (AU) Commission of Inquiry into South Sudan, headed by former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, found that the killings in Juba at the start of the fighting in December 2013 were carried out pursuant to a state policy; and that they were coordinated and possibly also planned.

Among the atrocities committed were, of course, thousands of murders. On the face of it, these amount to genocide since they were directed by the Dinka and Nuer against one other. There was also widespread rape, including with sharp objects, and a novel one – enforced cannibalism.

The report has been ready since January, but the AU postponed its release for fear that it would scupper the peace talks between President Salva Kiir and his fired deputy and archenemy, Riek Machar. It was finally made available this week under great pressure after the two sides reached a very fragile peace deal in August.

It is true that the AU has made a decision to establish a hybrid judicial court, the Hybrid Court of South Sudan (HCSS), to try the crimes committed and incidentally still being committed in the civil war. This court is to be created in accordance with the peace agreement reached by the South Sudanese parties, ‘as an African-led and Africa-owned legal mechanism.’ How it will go remains to be seen. One of the most intriguing things about the HCSS is that it explicitly stipulates that no one sh

Written by defenceWeb, Friday, 30 October 2015

Denel will launch its maritime division, Denel Integrated Systems and Maritime, at the upcoming Maritime Africa conference and exhibition, taking place at the CTICC in Cape Town from 23-24 November.

“Maritime Africa is a fantastic opportunity for Denel to launch our maritime division in public and articulate our aspirations within the sector” says Ismail Dockrat, Chief Executive Officer, Denel Integrated Systems and Maritime. He is a speaker at the upcoming conference, which will bring together African leaders and global experts from the military, government, defence industry, law enforcement, marine manufacture and maintenance, commercial shipping and offshore extractive industries to share knowledge, experience and best practice. Denel is a gold sponsor at the event.

Just under a year ago, Denel established the new division of Denel Integrated Systems & Maritime (Denel ISM) and, said the CEO, “this new division is meant to diversify Denel into a range of new capabilities and new markets, one of which is the maritime market.”

He continued: “the other two markets under Denel ISM are sovereign technologies and national safety and security. In terms of sovereign technologies, we are responsible for areas such as command and control, electronic warfare, secure communications and integrated systems. In the safety and security space, we are engaging with clients such as the South African Police Services (SAPS), the Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA), the Border Management Agency (BMA) and the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC). We are developing our value proposition within these important markets.”

With regard to the maritime sector in particular, Dockrat said “it is striking that Denel has not had the same relationship with the SA Navy (SAN) as it has historically had with the SA Air Force (

Written by Reuters, Friday, 30 October 2015

A high-tech U.S. military blimp designed to detect a missile attack came loose on Wednesday and wreaked havoc as it floated from Maryland into Pennsylvania while dragging more than a mile of cable and knocking out power to thousands.

The U.S. military scrambled two armed F-16 fighter jets to keep watch as the massive blimp traveled into civilian airspace after coming untethered from its base at Aberdeen Proving Ground, a U.S. Army facility 40 miles (65 km) northeast of Baltimore.

Pentagon officials said they were unsure why the 242-foot-long blimp broke free at 12:20 p.m. Military officials wrestled for hours over the best way to bring it down safely, but eventually it deflated on its own.

The blimp, part of a $2.8 billion Army program, landed in a rural, wooded area in Exchange, Pennsylvania, a community outside Bloomsburg, about 150 miles (240 km) north of the Aberdeen Proving Ground.

John Thomas, a spokesman for Columbia County emergency management agency, said there were no reports of injuries but had no more details about the landing.

Written by defenceWeb, Friday, 30 October 2015

At least 18 people on board a Libyan Air Force helicopter were killed when the helicopter they were travelling in crashed in the Mediterranean Sea on 27 October. It was apparently shot down.

The aircraft came down in the water near the town of Zawiya, about 28 miles (45km) west of Tripoli, while en route to Tripoli. A total of 18 bodies were recovered but it is not clear how many people were on board – up to 23 may have been flying on the helicopter, which was probably an Mi-8 or Mi-17 model.

Some of those on board included three crew, bank employees and members of Libya’s Tripoli-based Fajr Libya coalition Islamist government, reports Air Forces Daily. Al Jazeera reports that the aircraft was brought down by unidentified assailants with anti-aircraft fire. However, no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

Written by Dean Wingrin, Friday, 30 October 2015

Specialist marine solutions provider Smit Amandla Marine has partnered with local shipbuilder Damen Shipyards Cape Town to build two new vessels which will carry out supply and support work for De Beers Group Supply Chain services to offshore diamond mining operations based in Port Nolloth in the Northern Cape.

The first vessel was officially named at a traditional ceremony at the Damen shipyard in Cape Town on Thursday, October 29, in the presence of the Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies.

In keeping with maritime tradition, Hull 109 was officially named ‘Aukwatowa’ by Lady Sponsor Jenny Coltman, wife of the Chairman of De Beers Group Services, Craig Coltman. ‘Aukwatowa’ is the historical Nama name for Port Nolloth, meaning ‘where the old man was washed away.’

The predecessor of Smit Amandla Marine first operated launch services from Port Nolloth on behalf of De Beers Marine Namibia vessels in 1999, supporting the operations of the world’s largest mining and exploration fleet.

Coltman said: “The contract to build two new supply launches demonstrates the strong partnership between De Beers and Smit Amanda Marine to ensure we have a sustainable business benefitting Namibia and the west coast of the far Northern Cape for today and for the future.”

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News September 2015
Written by defenceWeb, Wednesday, 30 September 2015

The SA Navy Type 209 submarine SAS Queen Modjadji last week took part in a deep water training exercise with a Royal Navy frigate carrying the new Wildcat maritime helicopter.

HMS Lancaster, a Type 23 frigate, is the first Royal Navy (RN) warship to carry the Wildcat which, according to the RN website “maintained an eye in the sky throughout the exercise helping surface vessels locate the elusive underwater foe and then simulated the dropping of stingray torpedoes onto the submarine’s location”.

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel, RFA Gold Rover, was the other participant in the four day exercise which saw the British ships pitting wits against the sub-surface vessel in a series of intermediate and advanced anti-submarine serials.

A number of SA Navy submariners were embarked on Lancaster for the duration of the exercise and they “relished the opportunity of observing the training from a surface perspective”.

Lieutenant Tom Johnson, one of Lancaster’s principal warfare officers, said: “The training was a fantastic opportunity to hone our anti-submarine warfare skills against a capable opponent and further enforce the strong relationship between the Royal and South African navies”.

Written by Reuters, Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Burkina Faso soldiers met little resistance on Tuesday as they entered a presidential guard camp in the capital where members of the elite unit were holding out after a coup, an army officer said.

Residents of the Ouaga 2000 district in the capital Ouagadougou said they heard bursts of gunfire in the late afternoon as troops, who had surrounded the base for most of the day, moved in.

However, the officer, who was in command of part of the operation, said General Gilbert Diendere, the leader of the short-lived coup, was not in the camp.

"The armoured vehicles entered the camp without much resistance. But he wasn't there. We don't totally control the camp, but we're carrying out clean-up operations," said the officer, who asked not to be named.

He said Diendere's vehicle had been destroyed by soldiers near the Vatican's diplomatic compound, and the general was believed to have sought refuge inside.

Written by Oscar Nkala, Wednesday, 30 September 2015

The Nigerian Navy (NN) has acquired the Falcon Eye Israeli-designed mass surveillance system to monitor the country’s territorial waters and track movements within the broader Gulf of Guinea maritime zone.

The Falcon Eye is a sophisticated mass surveillance system designed in Israeli but manufactured by United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based Falcon Technologies. The company also manufactures unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Its mass surveillance system uses a number of electro-optic systems and cameras operated from a command centre to detect and pinpoint vehicular and human movements within prescribed security environments.

Addressing delegates at the Nigerian Navy's inaugural lecture for officers on 17 September, Rear-Admiral Francis Akapan said the installation of critical components of the Falcon Eye maritime surveillance system is still continuing at strategic points within the country's territorial waters and the Gulf of Guinea.

He said once completely rolled out, the system will enable the navy to monitor all movements and prevent the commission of maritime crimes such as piracy, oil theft, vandalism offshore oil infrastructure and illegal aircraft movements within the Gulf of Guinea.

Written by Reuters, Wednesday, 30 September 2015

India's cabinet on Tuesday cleared the purchase of Boeing's Apache and Chinook helicopters in a deal worth around $2.5 billion, two government sources said, in a boost to defence ties with the United States.

The deal strengthens the status of the United States as one of India's top military suppliers, along with Israel, dislodging Cold War-era ally Russia from its longstanding position as the South Asian nation's main source of weapons.

The approval for 22 Apache attack and 15 heavy lift Chinook helicopters, meant to replace the military's ageing Soviet-origin choppers, came just as Prime Minister Narendra Modi heads to the United States to drum up investments into India.

"Both have been cleared, the total cost is $2.5 billion," a defence ministry source, who declined to be identified, because he is not authorised to speak to the media, told Reuters. A senior government official confirmed the decision.

The deal includes an option for 11 more Apaches and seven more Chinooks, an industry source with knowledge of the matter said.

India was the top foreign buyer of U.S. arms in 2013, says defense research firm IHS Janes, and the two governments are now negotiating a series of defense collaboration projects.

Written by Reuters, Wednesday, 30 September 2015

A suspected Islamist rebel accused of destroying ancient monuments in Mali's Timbuktu appeared before the International Criminal Court on Wednesday, the first person to face charges for damaging mankind's cultural heritage at the court.

The ICC has been examining events in Mali since 2012, when Islamist Tuareg rebels seized large parts of the country's north and imposed strict Muslim religious law. They began desecrating ancient shrines, mosques and monuments in Timbuktu, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

French and Malian troops pushed them back the following year.

Prosecutors say that Malian citizen Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi led an Islamist morality squad called al-Hesbah, which helped execute the decisions of the Islamic court of Timbuktu. They accuse him also of belonging to Ansar Dine, an ally of Al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM).

"My name is Ahmad al-Faqi a-Mahdi, and I am from the Tuareg tribe... I was born about 40 years ago. I am a graduate of the teachers' institute in Timbuktu and I was a civil servant in the education department... beginning in 2011," he told the court.

Written by Reuters, Wednesday, 30 September 2015

South Africa may set up a panel to process civil claims that have been filed against the government by the families of miners killed during a violent 2012 wildcat strike at a mine run by platinum producer Lonmin, the presidency said.

"A judge, assisted by experts, will be asked to lead this process in order to reinforce its independence," President Jacob Zuma said in a statement.

"Government will engage with the legal representatives of claimants, and encourage them to use this process. To the extent that some do not lend their co-operation, or it is not possible to resolve claims through mediation, government will seek to do so through the court process," Zuma said.

Families of 37 of the South African miners killed during the strike at the Marikana mine filed civil claims against the government in August.

In all, 44 people were killed in violence triggered by the stoppage, including 34 strikers gunned down by police in what became known as the "Marikana Massacre," the worst security incident since the end of apartheid over two decades ago.

Written by Reuters, Wednesday, 30 September 2015

South Sudan's president and a rebel leader accused each other on Tuesday of violating a ceasefire brokered to end a 21-month conflict in the world's newest state as United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon appealed to them "not to betray and disappoint us."

Ban told President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar that now was the time to correct their "grave mistakes." A political dispute between the pair spiralled into a war that has killed thousands and forced two million people to flee.

"We are all here to help you, I hope you will not betray and disappoint us," Ban told a meeting on the sidelines of the annual United Nations General Assembly in support of a peace deal signed last month.

Kiir has been president since independence from Sudan in 2011, and Machar was his deputy until he was dismissed in 2013.

The conflict reopened ethnic fault lines that pitted Kiir's Dinka against Machar's ethnic Nuer forces. Nearly 13,000 U.N. peacekeepers are still sheltering more than 200,000 people at camps throughout South Sudan.

Written by Reuters, Wednesday, 30 September 2015

More than 20 people were killed in a shootout at the weekend between Mozambican forces and gunmen in a convoy carrying the leader of the main opposition party, a government spokesman said on Tuesday.

Mouzinho Saide said armed men in a convoy of vehicles carrying Afonso Dhlakama, leader of the opposition Renamo party, opened fire on a minibus taxi carrying civilians.

"The Defense and Security Forces were sent to the scene, were confronted by shots coming from Renamo men. They fired back, killing the shooters," he said, adding 23 people had been killed.

Renamo officials said the attack on its members was an ambush.

Earlier this month, local media said Dhlakama had escaped without injury after his convoy was attacked by gunmen as he returned from a rally.

Written by SAnews, Wednesday, 30 September 2015

South Africa’s murder rate continues to increase with a total of 17 805 murders committed from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015, the national crime statistics released on Tuesday reveal.

The statistics, which were completed in conjunction with Statistics South Africa, were released by Police Minister Nathi Nhleko, Deputy Police Minister Makhotso Sotyu, the National Commissioner General Riah Phiyega, as well as some MECs responsible for Policing and Provincial Commissioners during a sitting of the Police Portfolio Committee in Parliament.

The data indicates that the murder rate increased for the third year in a row. Incidents of murder increased by 4.6% in the 2014/15 financial year when compared to the previous year.

This means 782 more murders were committed in South African compared to the 2013/14 financial year.

Previously, incidents of murder had increased from 16213 murders in 2012/13 to 17023 in 2013/14. This comes on the back of a similar increase in 2011/12 which stood at 15554.

Written by Reuters, Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Democratic Republic of Congo has closed its border with the Central African Republic, Congo's spokesman Lambert Mende told Reuters on Tuesday, amid four days of violence in Bangui in which at least 37 people have died.

The Congolese town of Zongo lies across the Ubangi river from the capital of Central African Republic, which has seen its worst clashes this year. The two countries share a border roughly 1,750 km (1,100 miles) long.

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News August 2015
Written by Guy Martin, Monday, 31 August 2015

The China Shipbuilding and Trading Company (CSTC) will use its expertise to assist Southern African Shipyards (SAS) in the rebuilding of South Africa’s maritime industry, with an emphasis on Operation Phakisa to develop the ocean economy.

This is according to Charles Maher, General Manager: Marketing at Southern African Shipyards (SAS) who told defenceWeb that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between SAS and CSTC earlier this year was bearing fruit. He said that after the MoU became effective at the end of March, there has been a secondary visit and follow-up meetings with more scheduled for the end of September while acting CEO of Transnet Siyabonga Gama and other executives will later this year travel to China on a fact-finding mission.

After theMoU was signed, Prasheen Maharaj, CEO of SAS, said the agreement would bring competitiveness and efficiency into South Africa with benefits to the shipbuilding supply chain. The agreement covers technology and skills transfer and will see SAS source equipment and supplies from China and market CSTC’s large ships in Africa.

SAS and CSTC committed to building a collaborative institutional relationship where experience and expertise are shared, particularly around potential projects which fall under Operation Phakisa. This was launched by President Jacob Zuma in 2014. One of its two key focus areas is to develop South Africa’s maritime economy in sectors such as marine transport and manufacturing and offshore oil and gas. It includes the expansion of South African port capacity for repair work for oil ships and oil rigs.

One of the projects the MoU with CSTC is targeting is the multibillion rand Saldanha Bay and Richard’s Bay oil and gas hubs, which aims to cater for the South African and West African oil and gas markets. Transnet as the custodian of

Written by Reuters, Monday, 31 August 2015

Chad has sentenced 10 members of Nigeria-based Islamist militant group Boko Haram to death on terrorism charges, judicial sources said on Friday.

"They are all sentenced to death," said one of the sources.

Chad's capital N'Djamena, less than 100 kilometres from the Nigerian border, was hit by a series of suicide bombings in June and July that killed more than 40 people.

Written by Reuters, Monday, 31 August 2015

Nigeria's security agency said on Sunday it had made significant breakthroughs in the fight against Boko Haram and arrested 20 prominent members of the militant Islamist group accused of orchestrating deadly attacks.

President Muhammadu Buhari has made halting Boko Haram's six-year-old insurgency a priority, but a Reuters tally shows the militants have killed more than 700 people in Nigeria in bomb attacks and shootings since he came to office on May 29.

In the latest violence, around 56 people were killed by suspected Boko Haram gunmen at a village in northeastern Borno state on Friday night, Borno state governor Kashim Shettima said late on Saturday.

The Department of State Services (DSS) said on Sunday that 20 "notable commanders and frontline members" of the jihadist group had been arrested in Lagos, Kano, Plateau, Enugu and Gombe states between July 8 and Aug. 25 this year.

The DSS said it had arrested those suspected of coordinating attacks earlier this year in the northern cities of Potiskum, Kano and Zaria, as well as the central city of Jos, adding that a number of them had made confessions.

Written by defenceWeb, Monday, 31 August 2015

Egypt will in the coming years take delivery of approximately 50 Ka-52 attack helicopters from Kamov.

A recent report by the Research and Production Corporation Precision Instrumentation Systems (JSC SPC CPR) company notes that 50 ECO-52 sensor turrets used aboard the Ka-52 will be delivered to Egypt between 2016 and 2019, indicating an order for up to 50 of the helicopters.

During the Paris Air Show in June, the head of Rosoboronexport’s delegation Sergei Kornev said that the Ka-52 had received its first foreign order but did not disclose who the customer was or how many aircraft were ordered.

Last week a “military-diplomatic source” told Russian news agency ITAR-TASS that Egypt intends to buy Ka-52 Alligators but deliveries have not yet started. No further details were given.

It is not clear if the Ka-52s were ordered in September last year when Russia said it had reached a preliminary deal with Egypt for the sale of $3.5 billion of weapons.

Turkish jets took part in U.S.-led coalition air strikes against Islamic State in Syria for the first time on Friday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.

"Our jets started last night to carry out air operations with coalition forces against IS targets in Syria which pose a threat to our security too," a statement released on Saturday said.

The operation followed a technical agreement with the United States on Aug. 24 about Turkey's role in the campaign against the Sunni Islamists who control large areas of Syria and Iraq.

Turkey last month agreed to open its strategically important air bases to the coalition, but has been reluctant to play a leading role in the fight against Islamic State, fearing a backlash.

On July 24, Turkish warplanes attacked Islamic State targets in Syria, but not as part of the coalition operation.

Written by Reuters, Monday, 31 August 2015

Spanish authorities have arrested a American man on charges of enslavement and diamond pillaging during Sierra Leone's civil war, a victims' association said on Saturday.

Michel Desaedeleer, who has U.S. and Belgian citizenship, is suspected of forcing enslaved civilians to mine for diamonds in Sierra Leone's eastern district of Kono between 1999-2001, according to Swiss-based Civitas Maxima.

During Sierra Leone's long conflict, the diamonds were sent to neighbouring Liberia where former President Charles Taylor used the proceeds to finance weapons for rebels.

"(The case) will help to raise awareness of the pivotal role played by financial actors in the trade of mineral resources that fuel armed conflicts in Africa and elsewhere," said Alain Werner, director of Civitas Maxima, which has been working for years to document the crimes and assist victims.

A Belgian investigation led to a European arrest warrant being issued against Desaedeleer earlier this year. He is normally resident in the United States.

Written by Reuters, Monday, 31 August 2015

A veteran Mozambican investigative reporter, publisher of the online Diario de Noticias, was killed in a drive-by shooting as he jogged in the capital Maputo on Friday, police said.

Paulo Machava had previously worked on a radio show that talked about crime. Police said they were yet to make any arrests or establish the motive.

Abductions, mostly of wealthy foreigners involved in the southern African nation's coal and gas sector, and execution-style killings are becoming common in Maputo.

A prominent lawyer, Gilles Cistac, who was viewed as sympathetic to opposition calls for decentralisation of power in the resource-rich southern African country, was shot dead earlier this year.

Written by Reuters, Monday, 31 August 2015

Central African Republic's constitutional court has confirmed the exclusion of past members of a transitional government from running for office in presidential and parliamentary elections due in October.

A 2013 transitional charter stated that members of the caretaker body would not be eligible to participate in the polls, which are meant to draw a line under more than two years of violence

However, the court was asked to clarify the charter's provision after former Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye and other senior ministers, who have since left the transitional government, announced their candidacies.

The country descended into chaos in March 2013 when predominantly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power, triggering reprisals by "anti-balaka" Christian militias who drove tens of thousands of Muslims from the south in a de facto partition.

The transitional authority was established to lead the country to fresh elections.

Written by Reuters, Monday, 31 August 2015

Four Libyan soldiers were killed and six wounded in fresh fighting with Islamist groups in the eastern city of Benghazi on Sunday, medics and military officials said.

Forces loyal to Libya's internationally recognised government have been fighting Islamist groups in the country's second-largest city Benghazi since last year, part of a wider struggle since Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown in 2011.

A tank battalion fought with Islamist brigades which had been trying to advance in the west of Benghazi, military officials said. Fighting raged until late in the evening.

Army forces backed by armed residents have regained some areas in Benghazi lost last year. But critics say their outdated war planes and helicopters lacking precision guns have damaged parts of the city without gaining much on the ground.

There was also fighting on Sunday between army units loyal to the official government and Islamic State outside the city of Derna to the east of Benghazi.

Written by defenceWeb, Monday, 31 August 2015

A Cabinet show of force with four ministers present was at the weekend used to indicate the high level of concern government has regarding rhino poaching.

Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa was flanked by the ministers of defence (Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula), police (Nathi Nhleko) and state security (David Mahlobo) when she made only the third public announcement of the year on rhino poaching in Pretoria.

Molewa said anti-poaching efforts in particularly the Kruger National Park are being undertaken “in the face of a 27% increase in suspected poachers” entering the world-renowned game reserve.

“So far during this year there have been 1 517 positively identified poaching activities in Kruger implying three incursions a day anywhere along the park’s thousand kilometre long border.

“This implies there are 12 active poacher groups at any given time somewhere in the two million hectares that is Kruger,” she said adding “this is why our teams have made physical contact with heavily armed poachers 95 times this year, close to three times a week”.

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Written by Reuters, Thursday, 29 January 2015

Libya.Libya's warring factions who operate rival governments have agreed "in principle" to hold future talks to end the crisis in Libya, moving the negotiations away from Geneva, the United Nations said on Thursday.

Some of the opposing factions met in Geneva earlier this month under the auspices of the United Nations, but key representatives from a Tripoli-based government and parliament stayed away, demanding the dialogue be held within Libya.

"There was agreement on the principle of convening future dialogue sessions in Libya, provided that logistical and security conditions are available," the U.N. Mission for Libya (UNSMIL) said in a statement after another round of talks in Geneva this week.

Written by Reuters, Thursday, 29 January 2015

Catherine Samba-Panza.The government of Central African Republic said on Thursday it rejected a ceasefire deal made in Kenya between two militia groups aimed at ending more than a year of clashes and attacks in which thousands have died.

Few details have emerged about the talks between the mainly Muslim Seleka alliance and the 'anti-balaka' militia who oppose them, though the two sides conducted low-level and sporadic peace negotiations for much of last year.

"The government categorically rejects the Nairobi accord because it was not associated with the discussions in any way. It is not a real accord, rather it's a series of grievances from the two armed groups which hold the country hostage," Communications Minister Georges Adrien Poussou told Reuters.

Central African Republic has been gripped by violence since the Seleka rebelled and seized power in March 2013. The group was forced to stand aside last year having failed to contain clashes with the 'anti-Balaka' and other violence.

The Seleka occupies much of the north and an interim government is struggling to assert its authority. France has started withdrawing some of its troops from the country, as a U.N. force, due to reach 10,000 by the end of April, deploys ahead of elections due later this year

Written by Reuters, Thursday, 29 January 2015

An airliner.Libyan carrier Buraq Airlines said on Wednesday it had suspended all flights for two days after one of its air crews was killed in an attack on a luxury hotel in Tripoli.

It gave no details but a Libyan official has said a French national had been identified by his work identity card for the airline. Libyan websites said a crew of three were killed

Libyan carriers have struggled to keep the country connected to neighboring states since fighting between factions vying for power in Libya damaged Tripoli's main airport last year, causing foreign airlines to pull out.

On Tuesday, gunmen stormed the luxury Corinthia hotel, one of the last large hotels in Tripoli still open, killing around nine people, among them five foreigners.

"Buraq Airlines informs that all flights will be halted in the next two days due to reasons out of our control," the airline said on its Facebook website.

Written by Reuters, Thursday, 29 January 2015

AirAsia.The French first officer of an AirAsia passenger jet that crashed into the sea last month was at the controls just before the accident, Indonesia's lead investigator said on Thursday.

The Airbus A320 vanished from radar screens in bad weather on Dec. 28, less than half way into a two-hour flight from Indonesia's second-biggest city of Surabaya to Singapore. All 162 people on board were killed.

"The second-in-command, popularly known as the co-pilot, who usually sits to the right of the cockpit, at the time, he was flying the plane," said National Transport Safety Committee (NTSC) investigator Mardjono Siswosuwarno, referring to first officer Remi Plesel.

"The captain, sitting to the left, was the pilot monitoring."

Data from the black box flight data recorder has provided the accident probe with a "pretty clear picture" of what happened in the last moments of AirAsia flight QZ8501, Siswosuwarno said, although few details have been made public

Written by Reuters, Thursday, 29 January 2015

Turkish Airlines and Middle East Airlines have resumed flights to Baghdad.Turkish Airlines and Lebanon's Middle East Airlines (MEA) resumed flights to Baghdad on Thursday after halting them earlier in the week when bullets hit a plane as it was landing in the Iraqi capital.

Samir Kubba, the head of Iraq's civil aviation authority, told Reuters a flight from Istanbul had landed and another from Beirut was expected shortly.

An MEA official and the Turkish Airlines website confirmed that both carriers, which provide daily flights to Baghdad, had resumed service.

At least seven airlines suspended flights to Baghdad following the shooting incident.

Dubai Aviation Corp, known as flydubai, Emirates Airlines, Sharjah's Air Arabia and Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways suspended flights in line with a directive from the United Arab Emirates' civil aviation authority

News December 2014
Written by defenceWeb, Tuesday, 09 December 2014
AHRLAC, the first military manned fixed wing aircraft fully designed, tested and developed in South Africa, has completed 50 hours of incident-free test flying from Wonderboom Airport.

The Advanced High-Performance Reconnaissance Light Aircraft is another offering for the South African and African defence and security sectors from the Paramount Group, the largest privately owned defence and aerospace company on the continent.

The 50 hour milestone was reached with 55 flights since July at the airport north of Pretoria. The flight test programme is expanding the aircraft’s flight envelope in key performance areas including handling, airframe systems, centre of gravity, performance ranges and rough field capabilities.

Written by Reuters, Monday, 08 December 2014
More than 70 Chinese nationals have been detained by Kenyan police investigating allegations of cyber crime, operating private radio services and being in the country illegally, their lawyers said on Friday.

China's foreign ministry said it was aware of the arrests and would cooperate with the Kenyan authorities.

The Chinese community in Kenya, as in other African nations, has grown with the expansion in trade and aid from the Asian giant.

"The Kenyan police have detained our clients for further investigations," said lawyer Ian Maina, who represents 40 of them. Another lawyer, Tom Wachakana, represents 36.

The lawyers said police were investigating allegations of involvement in cyber crime, breaking Kenya's communications rules by operating private radio broadcasting services and being in the country unlawfully.

Written by defenceWeb, Monday, 08 December 2014
The first of a series of medal parades to honour military and civilian personnel involved in the care of and funeral arrangements for Nelson Mandela saw 84 specially designed and minted medals awarded by President Jacob Zuma at AFB Waterkloof on Sunday.

Among the recipients were 76 serving and 14 retired members of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) the majority of them SA Military Health Service members, and 30 private medical doctors.

Zuma told those on parade at the Centurion air force base they were there to honour “those men and women in uniform who took care of our gallant leader when he was ill”.

“The awards are also bestowed to soldiers who participated in the burial preparations, the laying in state at the Union Buildings and those who ensured our beloved leader was accorded a befitting State funeral,” the SANDF Commander-in-Chief said.

Written by defenceWeb, Monday, 08 December 2014
The South African Competition Commission has recommended the sale of BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa (LSSA) to state owned defence group Denel go ahead as the transaction is not likely to lead to reduced competition.

The Commission met on 2 December and discussed the sale and in a subsequent statement to the media, it said that, “the Commission has recommended to the Competition Tribunal that the merger involving Denel SOC Limited (Denel) and BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa Proprietary Limited (LSSA) be approved without conditions.

“Denel controls various other firms and intends to acquire 100% shares of the LSSA…The Commission found that the transaction is unlikely to lead to a substantial prevention or lessening of competition. The transaction is unlikely to raise public interest concerns.”

In August BAE Systems and Denel signed an agreement to proceed with the sale, valued at R855 million ($79.85 million), which was anticipated to conclude during the fourth quarter of this year after receiving regulatory and other approvals.

“This proposed sale will further shape our portfolio around our core capabilities in tracked, combat and amphibious vehicles and weapon systems, which represent markets where we possess strong franchise positions and discriminating capabilities,” stated Erwin Bieber, president of BAE Systems, Inc.’s Platforms & Services sector.

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