2. The South African National Defence Force: The Commando
2.1 The Commando system is a voluntary, part-time force of the SA Army. Each Commando is responsible for the safeguarding and protection of a specific community (both rural or urban). Their services are more commonly referred to as area protection. The area protection system involves the whole community and, therefore, even a member who is not a commando member can enjoy the protection the system offers him/her, although he/she will not enjoy the full advantages accompanying membership to a local Commando.
2.2 The participants in the Commando system do not have military commitments outside of the areas they serve, and are responsible for the safety and security of their own communities.
2.3 The system, in short, entails that a specific community is divided up into smaller, more manageable sections or cells. Each cell comprises of a number of farmers/households, depending on the vastness of the area and dispersion of the area’s inhabitants. Cell members are in contact with each other by means of telephone or a radio system which serves as a backup communication system in the event of the telephone lines being out of order. Alternative communication systems are therefore a vital element of the protection plan of any cell. The cell members have a communication link with their cell leader (who is elected by the members) who, in turns, has a communication link with the local police station. This ensures quick reaction by the police in the event of an attack. The cell leader can notify the local Commando if a stronger force is required.
2.4 This process of communication is time-consuming and, therefore, the members of a cell should be able to protect themselves and rely on support from neighbours and other members of the cell to ensure immediate response in an emergency. For this reason a cell must plan for certain contingencies before they happen. The local Commando will assist the cells with drawing up contingency plans.
2.5 The most crucial aspect to the effective functioning of this system is the cooperation of each and every member of a cell. Get involved – it’s to your own advantage!
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