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Conner Foxcroft

Operating in the Bush – By Sam J Basch

By Media

Redeployable Camp Systems SA was tasked with rapidly supplying
the SANDF with tents for its border protection duties

As its name indicates, Redeployable Camp Systems SA (RCSSA) (Hangar 4 Outside Stand ON4) has built an enviable reputation for its turnkey camp solutions in many parts of the world. The company’s redeployable camps have been supplied into some of the most inhospitable regions, from deserts and jungles to the icy fields of Antarctica.

In recent times, RCSSA, part of the KwaZulu-Natal headquartered Canvas and Tent group, provided more than 270 tents to the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) for its border posts around the entire perimeter of the country. This forms part of Operation Corona that is focused on safeguarding the country’s borders. The project entrusted to RCSSA covered 19 military bases on the borders, including those with Lesotho and Eswatini.

According to RCSSA group sales manager Martin Bester, the company managed to execute the order in a matter of weeks, from early December 2021 to late February 2022, a period that included the Christmas holidays.

“We delivered just over 100 Warrior tents measuring about 10 x 5 m and a further 44 of the 5 m square Warrior tents,” he explained. “Besides these and other deliveries, RCSSA repaired existing tents at the bases as required in terms of the contract.” For this massive and urgent undertaking, the company utilised no less than 42 ten-ton trucks that drove a combined 33 000 kilometres throughout South Africa in the short space of time. “We executed this contract within the specified timeframe and to the satisfaction of the SANDF,” Bester said. “The Warrior tents, fondly referred to as ‘Weatherhaven tents’ by the SANDF, accommodate eight to ten soldiers, but some tents were destined for other purposes, such as offices.”

Originally published on on 23 September 2022

RCSSA completes Project Swatch deliveries

By Projects

Pretoria-based Redeployable Camp Systems South Africa (RCSSA), part of the Canvas and Tent Group, has finished supplying tents to the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) as part of Project Swatch for a new Transportable Camp System.

RCSSA has completed its portion of the project, which entailed the supply of canvas products and providing operational support for them.

According to RCSSA’s group marketing manager Karen Coetzer, the canvas products consisted of small, medium and large accommodation tents constructed of a modular barrel shaped steel. The tents are covered by a durable, flame-retardant PVC fabric barrel cover.

“We also supplied vehicle tents for daily parking and execution of vehicle maintenance and repair tasks,” she explained. “The products were packed in specially developed steel crates for ease of deployment.”

She added that the crates are all packed in six metre ISO shipping containers that serve a dual role for storage and transportation. This also allows the consignment to fit into C-130 Hercules aircraft for air transportability.

The Canvas Products accommodation tents are supplied complete with solid doors, interlocking rubber floor tiles for a raised floor, furniture and support equipment. Accommodation tents has the option to be constructed on a prepared surface such directly on the ground or on a raised floor. Raised floors consisting of steel beams, jacks for levelling and wood inserts were supplied as part of canvas products

“As with all modular systems that we provide, the mess tent power distribution is essentially ‘plug-and-play’”, Coetzer said. “Electrical distribution boards are pre-assembled and electricity is distributed via harnesses to power outlets and connectors. High quality and reliable LED lighting is utilised throughout the facility.”

A trolley with capacity of 1.5 tons was developed by RCSSA to move crates and tent components from the container storage to the construction area. Several trailers may be linked together to form a train to be pulled by a vehicle at speed not exceeding 20 km/h.

(The trailers are not suitable for public road application). A hand-operated hydraulic stacker is also provided.

Project Swatch was completed by Armscor late last year. Designed to supply expandable field accommodation and related items including ablution, storage of goods ranging from ammunition through to rations and medical supplies, the project first saw the light of day in 2001.

The focus of Swatch is to provide transportable – and durable – “camping systems” for use in deployments less than eight weeks long.

The system utilises canvas tented products, expandable containers for water storage, ablution and laundry use; waste management; cooling and storage as well as offices for clerks, paymasters and other administrative functions.

In addition to showers, basins and toilets, the ablution component is fitted with holding cells for military justice system offenders ahead of court appearances or transfers to other holding facilities.

“The new system,” SA Soldier writes, “recognises the hardship of deployment and the difficulty operational soldiers experience trying to keep neat and tidy. The new system helps transcend the physical and environmental challenges of deployment, allowing soldiers to operate effectively at all times with limited disturbance – especially in countries such as Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Sudan”.

Originally published on on 17 January 2022

Redeployable Camp Systems supplying tents for SANDF under urgent requirement

By News

Pretoria-based Redeployable Camp Systems South Africa (RCSSA), part of the Canvas & Tent group headquartered in KwaZulu-Natal, is fulfilling an urgent requirement for tented accommodation for the South African National Defence Force’s (SANDF’s) Operation Corona border safeguarding initiative.

According to Martin Bester, group sales manager of RCSSA, the Armscor contract placed with the company stipulated that the hundred-plus new tents had to be fully delivered and erected by 28 February 2022.

“For this reason, we pulled out all stops to complete the project to the satisfaction of the SANDF,” he stated. “The order is being rolled out as of this week, which is the end of November and will be completed by end of February 2022.”

Operation Corona is aimed at South African border protection, hence the deployment of SANDF troops to the border regions.

Bester explained that the contract, worth R35 million as revealed last week in Parliament, also entails repairs to existing tented accommodation that has been in place in the border areas since 2008.

“The tents are RCSSA’s Warrior type, fondly known in the SANDF as ‘Weatherhaven tents’ that accommodate between eight and ten soldiers,” Bester said. “Our offering is primarily for accommodation but some of the tents could also be used for office purposes, if required.”

In Parliament last week, Rear Admiral Bubele Mhlana, Chief of Staff of Joint Operations (JOps), revealed that R225 million has been allocated to procure or acquire prime mission equipment for the borders for the three-year 2020/21 Medium Term Expenditure Framework. Of this, R65 million was allocated in 2020/21 and R75 million in 2021/22. R32 million was allocated for the procurement of unmanned aerial vehicles.

Initially, half a million rand has been allocated to upgrading Operation Corona operational bases while R8 million has been allocated to the replacement of canvases, and R35 million allocated for Weatherhaven tented accommodation.

JOps is focussing on replacing tents and accommodation; maintaining and repairing office and accommodation buildings; storage facilities; improving ablutions; repairing and replacing kitchen equipment; boreholes for water; and providing operational bases with electricity.

For 2022/23, JOps plans to spend R85 million, with a focus on high and low technology. High technology equipment would include tactical radios and surveillance equipment for land and sea applications, and reliable communications systems.

Low technology applications include creating obstacles at identified areas to prevent the movement of vehicles on the borderline, such as the Jersey Barriers already deployed in KwaZulu-Natal, and trenches in Mpumalanga. Other technology includes observation towers and the possibility of deploying the Maritime Reaction Squadron with inflatable boats on the Limpopo River.

Originally published on on 29 November 2021

Delivery of new soldier field accommodation underway

By Projects

Twenty years ago the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) recognised a need to replace field accommodation and water supply capabilities under Project Swatch which will be realised in totality by year-end.

A LinkedIn post by Lieutenant Colonel GG Sebogodi, personal staff officer (PSO) to the Deputy Chief Logistics, has it Project Swatch was “solely to improve living conditions of soldiers during operations to boost morale and spirit”.

The project initiated in 2001 was to deliver expandable accommodation and water related equipment for a brigade. To date the project has delivered equipment and products for a battalion plus, with more equipment expected to be delivered toward year-end.

Project Swatch is a set of mission ready deployment accommodation of tent products, basic and expandable containers. They range in size from a two to 10 man tents housing a platoon section with each soldier allocated a mini cupboard with portable table and chair, study lamp and a plug. This obviates the need to share when charging cell phones or laptops. The tents will be electrified and air-conditioned and comply with UN specifications.

Sebogodi writes: “With an increase in joint force employment requirements, externally and internally, from the Department of Defence (DoD), it was evident the delay in issuing this equipment to support operations led by Joint Operations Division could be detrimental to operations and the perceived military posture of South Africa”.

“Following deliberations exacerbated by recent unprecedented events (presumably referring to last month’s violent civil unrest), CSANDF issued a directive galvanising efforts to support Joint Operations to deliver on its joint force employment requirements. Logistics Division, Joint Operations Division and the SA Army brought together a team at Mobilisation Centre in Bloemfontein to assess delivered equipment to be issued on loan to SA Army Force Preparation in support of Joint Operations.

“Project officers and technical troops from 11 and 17 Maintenance Units trained to assemble the equipment led by Logistics Support Formation product support manager assembled the tents with Armscor personnel at the Mobilisation Centre.

“This,” the lieutenant colonel writes, “was to ensure that on arrival generals from Logistics and Joint Operations divisions and the SA Army could be given a tour of final products assembled and initial packing of equipment”.

“This,” he continues, “is a commendable milestone for the SANDF at a time when the requirement for the national defence force to bring peace and stability to South Africa and African is evidently inevitable”.

Originally published on on 11 August 2021