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PostPosted: 30 Mar 2005, 13:08 
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From News24:

Potch special unit disbanded


Potchefstroom - The specialised infantry unit, 12 SA Infantry (SAI) Battalion, is to be disbanded on Thursday, the SA Army said on Tuesday.

12 SAI, based at Potchefstroom, provided horse-mounted infantry, motorcyclists and dog handlers to SA Army units for area defence (counterinsurgency) purposes, Infantry Formation spokesperson Merle Meyer said in a statement.

"This closure is part of the process to hand back to the SA Police Service functions and tasks that were given to the SA Army to execute some years ago," Meyer said.

The military established a dog and equestrian centre at Thaba Tshwane in 1964.

A decade later the equestrian centre was moved to the farm Welgegund at Potchefstroom.

The dog centre moved to Bourke's Luck, Mpumalanga, in 1979.

The equestrian centre spawned a stud farm at De Aar in the Northern Cape in 1980.

Cuts in the defence budget after 1989 forced the closure of the De Aar facility in 1991.

In 1993 the equestrian and dog centres were reunited as 12 SAI.

Border protection

"Over the years 12 SAI Bn was internally deployed on a continuous basis, especially in the role of border protection and several companies were deployed externally to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi with an excellent record," Meyer said.

"Recently, the members of 12 SAI Bn came to the rescue of other UN forces that were attacked by rebel forces.

"Several female infantreers were members of 12 SAI Bn and they completed the equestrian, dog handlers and the visual tracking courses. Several companies deployed internally under the command of a female company commander," she added.

Meyer said the unit's equestrian capability would be transferred to the police on April 14 at an official ceremony.

Its dogs and related infrastructure would go to the SA Military Health Service and the battalion's motorcycle and visual tracking capabilities were being transferred to the Infantry School at Oudtshoorn, where the first course would start next month.

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