The South African National Defence Force (SANDF), SA Air Force, SA Navy, South African Military Health Services and the Military Police Agency deployed to the Overstrand on 24 February 2022 to combat the poaching of abalone and rock lobster and related crime. The deployment falls under the maritime protection Operation Corona.
Overstrand Municipality’s Law Enforcement, Cape Nature, South African Police Services (SAPS) and the Department of Forestry, Fishing and Environment (DFFE) joined them as part of the operation. Illegal maritime activities are being targeted from the air, on water and on land. They are supported by members from the Maritime Reaction Squadron with an Oryx helicopter which conducts aerial patrols.
Temporary bases were set up in Gansbaai (Uilkraalsmond), Hermanus and Onrus from where land and sea patrols can be launched swiftly and in more directions than previous years.
The main goal of Operation Corona is to deny poachers access to the sea.
Lt-Col Adriaan Lotriet, SANDF Staff Officer for Operations, confirmed that this deployment is conducted under the mandate of the SANDF responsibility for maritime border safeguarding. SANDF, with the assistance of above mentioned role players, will obtain situational awareness and prevent any boats and divers in the area proceeding to sea to conduct illegal activities.
“The success of this operation will not be measured by the number of arrests made and the confiscated poaching maritime resources, but by the fact that we, while deployed along the Overstrand coast, will restrict poaching activities and disrupt the status quo of the poachers,” he said.
The good news is that South African Air Force and Navy elements have not only been deployed along the Overstrand, but also along the Cape coast from Lamberts Bay to Cape Infanta under Joint Tactical Headquarters Western Cape.
On Thursday, 10 March 2022, Overstrand Municipality’s ‘partners in crime’, showcased their training, skill and commitment to the fight against the growing level of crime in the area.
Held in Gansbaai and Kleinbaai, the procession of the Operation Corona Maritime Media Day included the Deputy Mayor of Overstrand, Lindile Ntsabo, councillor responsible for crime prevention.
He had the opportunity to board a Namacurra harbour patrol boat from the Navy for a patrol. The Deputy Mayor also observed a trooping from an SA Air Force Oryx helicopter deploying soldiers for a rapid Vehicle Control Point (VCP).