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HOEDSPRUIT: The new crop of VIP Protectors

11 SANDF members and 13 Nigerians excelled at the curriculum that included Static Protection, Close Protection, Law, Weapon Training, Driving, Planning and Self Defence module.

23 of the 24 VIP Protectors completed their 4 months course 2017/02 and were honored with certificates at Air Force Base (AFB) Hoedspruit on 24 November 2014.

The course, which comprised by 11 SANDF members and 13 Nigerians who excelled at the curriculum that included Static Protection, Close Protection, Law, Weapon Training, Driving, Planning and Self Defence module.

One student was found not yet competent in convoy driving, but will be afforded the opportunity to qualify in the next coming course.

According to Capt Vuhlari Baloyi, the Course’s Shooting Branch Commander, the protectors went through rigorous training, which tested their endurance and stretched their whole outlook on life. “My heartfelt gratitude goes to the instructors, who exuded passion and put soldiering first and their families last. Your commitment made the course interesting, especially because two countries worked seamlessly with very few hiccups.”

The Capt emphasised said that whatever may have gone to the heart, nothing was personal, “This course consisted of various musterigs: Protection, Air Police, Defence IntelliGeneralce, Drivers, Apprentice, Ceremonial guards, Regiment, Combat marine and Air Suppliers. We thank the Officer Commanding of the SA Air Force Gymnasium, Col Riaan Van Wyk and the Command Council for their crystal clear guidance and directive.

The Nigerian High Commission wing Commander M.J. Aliyu expressed how proud he is to witness the competence of his fellow countrymen. “This is what maximising bilateral relations looks like, shared training, development of fresh ideas and looking at the future with one vision. I want to take the opportunity to thank the SAAF for contributing to the pool of competent VIP Protectors who were trained by the best there is. We can now confidently declare that we are on the scrolls of the greatest training institutions in the military world.

The Federal Republic of Nigeria aims to nurture and sustain this relationship, as part of bringing peace to the African continent. This course forms part of this initiative that is part of our military strategic intent. We will grow from strength to strength with future training and we shall remain combat ready.”

The Commander’s words were echoed by the Nigerian student leader, Sergeant D.K. Ewuah, saying, “This mission was hard, but we soon realised that nothing is beyond a willing mindset, it is set to win. We exceeded our expectations and I am confident that the lives of our dignitaries will be protected with cautiousness. We thank the government of Nigeria and the Armed Forces of Nigeria for giving us a chance to learn the South African way of doing things, what a spectacular time we had. Words are not enough to express our profound gratitude towards trusting us with your knowledge, we will put it to good use.”

Private Koketso Mojela receiving a trophy from Major General Portia More.

To date, SAAF Gymnasium has provided the VIP Course to Pakistan, Nigerian and Senegal.

Chief Air Staff Corporate Services, Major General Portia More highlighted that, “Quality protection is an absolute must, wherever VIPs find themselves travelling the world, many attacks have been stamped out before they even had a chance to materialise, thanks in no small part to having highly-trained protectors. Although usually romanticised, the work of the protector, is far more than suits, dark sunglasses and a serious face.

They travel the world with their principals, mingle with the who-is-who and observe important events at close quarters.

She said that the best protectors possess skills that allow them to handle very diverse and most times sacrificial situations. Additionally, “VIP protectors must be diplomatic when dealing with people and must projects control when necessary.

A loyal protector must be committed and must earn the principal’s trust and not betray it. To the Nigerian protectors, go and implement what you learnt here and transfer that skill, we are honored that you have trusted the teachings from this Base.

What would a course like this be without women inclusiveness? Congratulations to the women who slayed this course, you did us proud, we stand firmer because of you.”

Cpl Khensane Maringa, the only SAAF female on the course expressed how grateful she was that she was given the chance to qualify on such a distinguished mustering. “Many people don’t know the satisfaction of pushing oneself to the ultimate limit, I work at Mobile Deployment Wing and nothing compares to what I have learnt here, I’m going to live up to what the instructors taught me.”

From the new crop of VIP Protectors, those who stood out were: Private Koketso Mojela scooping the Best Academic and Overall Student, the Best Driver and Academic achiever was Karabo Pelle, Able Seaman Mncedisi Bans.

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