Aviation Policing and Security in South Africa- Border Policing

By Willie Bodenstein

In November 2015, Karl Jensen then the chairman of Experimental Aircraft Association of South Africa Chapter 322 Johannesburg was approached to assist in the training of SAPS Border Police trainees in the Aviation Policing and Security Learning Programme. He did a presentation in terms of Policing / Searching of smaller aircraft at the Police Academy in Benoni followed by an airfield visit, with the owners' approval, to Fly Inn Estate
by 45 trainees and their instructors. Together with Eugene Couzyn they explained many of the facets of light aircraft and helicopters that must be considered when the police are required to inspect aircraft.

“I believe passing on this knowledge goes a long way to avoiding unnecessary confrontations when our aircraft are required to be scrutinized by officers with minimal aviation knowledge”. Captain Jensen said.

In 1996 the South African Government establish Border Policing within the South African Police Service. The Component Border Police was tasked with the policing and security of all Ports of Entry (Borders) which included Air Border, Land Border, Sea Borders, Trans Frontier National Parks and railway crossings to neighbouring countries.

In South Africa Border Police are responsible for the policing of the following Borders and Ports of Entry.
- 53 Land borders
- 10 International airports
- 9 Sea harbour's
- 1 Dry dock
- Land border distance 4750 km
- Sea border distance 2800 km

In addition, Border Police focus on the policing of the 6 Transfrontier National Parks and the policing of 1244 smaller airfields.

Superb Flight Training (SFT) made their fixed wing aircraft available for this training

Eddie Viljoen assisted and made his helicopter available.

Section 218(1)(j) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act No. 200 of 1993 empowers SAPS at ports on entry to such functions relating to Border Control.

The South African Police Act No. 68 Of 1995, Section 13(6) empower any member of the SAPS, where it is reasonably necessary for the purpose of control over the illegal movement of people and goods across the borders of the Republic, without a warrant search any person, premises, other place, vehicle, vessel or aircraft, or any receptacle of whatever nature, at any place in the Republic within 10 km or any reasonable distance from any border between the Republic and neighbouring foreign state. Or at any airport as defined in Section 1 of the Aviation Act, Act No.13 of 2009 or within any reasonable distance from such airport and seize anything found in possession of such person or upon person or upon or at or in such premises, other place, vehicle, vessel, aircraft or receptacle and which may lawfully be seized. The policing of the international airports in a national priority to ensure the prevention of illegal persons and goods do not enter of leave the Republic.

Karl explaining the different types of licences

Students listening attentively

In 2013 The Aviation Policing and Security Learning Programme was formulated and approved by the SAPS Human Resource Development Division under the command of Brig Bakkies Breytenbach responsible for specialised skills development.
The course contents consist of eight Modules. A total of 24 dedicated trainers were trained which include members at nine International Airports in the country. Border Police members undergo police training in the colleges all over South Africa.

Thus far the Aviation Policing and Security Learning Programme is a great success within Border Policing Air Borders. A total of 300 members were trained at all international airports. In terms of the development programme for Africa, Namibia Police Force (NAMPOL) were the first foreign country to be trained in this programme. A total of 20 members and 4 trainers were trained from NAMPOL.

The course classroom phase lasts 3 weeks and 6 weeks of field training. After successful completion of the 9 week programme, members will receive certificates.

During the classroom phase members must complete practical formative assessments. These include activities such as profiling in the terminal building, searching of Cargo, roadblocks, searching of smaller aircraft and mock exercises with regards to Aircraft accidents and incidents.

The partnership between the Aviation Policing and Security Learning Programme and the aviation community plays a major role in the training and development of the Border Policing members' at all international airports. It is of critical importance that the Border Policing force forms a working relationship with the aviation community to ensure amicable cooperation.

Left to right: Major Willy Naude, Eugene Couzyn, Karl Jensen, Dawie du Preez, Nigel Musgrave, Dawie Pretorius, Tiaan Lombaard and Colonel van der Merwe

The operation was so successful that Captain Jensen was again approached to organize another exercise for another 45 SAPS trainees. Originally scheduled to again take place at Fly Inn Estate it was moved to Kitty Hawk when Frank van Heerden, chairman of the Kitty Hawk Trustees kindly offered the use of their facilities and made a generous financial contribution to the refreshments and catering for the trainees and tutors.

To end the days' activities, Theuns Eloff flew a spirited demonstration in a Calidus autogyro for the benefit of the group

“Thanks to you Frank for suggesting we make use of Kitty Hawk. You have a gracious team that showed us nothing but generosity and kindness. It will be appreciated if you would pass my compliments and grateful thanks to Eddie Viljoen, Dawie Pretorius, Nigel Musgrave and Tiaan Lombard who made aircraft available for inspection and assisted in guiding the group around the airfield. There were two other gentlemen with Tiaan whose names I cannot recall who also assisted, who need to be told of my appreciation please. Wilma Fourie and her team are really lovely people and I know that after many happy flying visits to Kitty Hawk, they are responsible for the fine reputation of the catering facility which we experienced, a big thanks is due to them too. I would also like to thank Nick from Superb Flight Training (SFT) for making his fixed wing aircraft available for this training session and a special thanks to Jaco from SFT for his participation and assistance. All three of the fixed wing aircraft used in this training session were from the school and the helicopter from Eddie Viljoen.

“I do believe that we are collectively making a marked contribution to creating a good relationship between our general aviation community and the SAPS section that is charged with security and inspection, especially at ports of entry to the country and airfields such as Kitty Hawk and similar sized airfields around the country. I believe using Kitty Hawk which has a definable relaxed and friendly atmosphere, makes the complex learning process of aircraft searching and documentation inspection a pleasant experience. A practical exercise as we held today means infinitely more for the trainees than trying to swot the procedures from a manual.” Captain Jensen said. This was echoed by SAPS Major Williy Naude, the leader of the SAPS programme at the end of the day's activities at the airfield.”

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