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SAPS welcomes 11 operatives into the elite Special Task Force (STF) Unit

Media Statement
South African Police Service
Office of the National Commissioner


PRETORIA - The South African Police Service (SAPS) has welcomed eleven newly trained Special Task Force Operatives (STF) to join the organisations elite unit. 

All clad in camouflage uniform, the cohort stood on parade at the SAPS Tshwane Academy where they were received and welcomed by the Divisional Commissioner for Visible Policing and Operations, Lieutenant General Michael Motlhala.

The Divisional Commissioner together with the Component Head for Specialized Operations Major General Nonhlanhla Zulu and the Component Head for In-Service Police Development Training, Major General Hendrick Chauke acknowledged the eleven as having successfully completed the Special Task Force (STF) Selection 35 Training Programme of 2021.

The group of eleven members were chosen from more than 1433 applicants as far back as 2017.

Today, only eleven received their STF wings. The STF wings are only awarded to members who successfully complete intensive STF Selection and Training Programme. The STF Parachute Wings are worn on the left chest and signify that the recipient has been trained at a high level of weapon proficiency, hostage release tactics and the ability to deploy operationally by parachute into all terrains.

Also standing on parade were an additional ten STF members who received their Operators Badge.

The Special Task Force Operators Badge is the symbol of a qualified South African Police Service hostage release and counter terrorism operator.

The Operators Badge is awarded to STF members who have been awarded the STF Parachute Wings and have worked operationally on a two-year probation period.

The Special Task Force (STF) is a highly specialised unit whose members are responsible for only responding to high risk incidents which include hostage incidents, search and rescue missions, as well as specialised operations support.

There are currently only 82 STF Operatives in the country and they are posted in various parts of the country. With the new addition, the number of Operatives has now risen to 93.

On behalf of the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service, General Khehla Sitole, the Divisional Commissioned for Visible Policing and Operations, Lieutenant General Michael Motlhala congratulated all members on parade.

"You are indeed the best of the best. You have endured rigorous training and emerged victorious. You have been thoroughly prepared to begin your careers in the STF, we urge you to remember all that you have learned and implement within the confine of the law to make South Africa a much better and safer place to live in. This indeed a huge responsibility bestowed upon you. We wish you the best of luck as we strive to achieve NDP vision 2030 where all in SA are and feel safe", said Lieutenant General Motlhala.

To join this elite unit, members must be 32 years and younger and must have served in an operational environment for at least two years. Members must also have undergone and been successful in the pre-selection phase which consists of various rigorous exercises that will be able to determine if the member can endure the twenty month training programme.


Colonel Athlenda Mathe



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