Poachers warned: Don't take on army
Pretoria - Army groups will be deployed on the Kruger National Park border with Mozambique, and the country's borders with Swaziland and Lesotho this year, the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) said on Tuesday.
In all, 22 groups of 165 soldiers each would be deployed on the borders in five phases over the next five years, said Acting Chief of the SANDF Lieutenant General Themba Matanzima.
The first group was deployed on South Africa's border with Zimbabwe last April, he said.
The SANDF was deployed on the country's borders until 1994, when the government instructed the phased withdrawal of troops.
The function of border control was then gradually taken over by the SA Police Service.
However, in February 2010, the ministry of defence mandated the SANDF's return.
Safeguarding the country's borders had become a national priority, said Matanzima, and he warned rhino poachers not to take them on.
"Pulling a gun against a soldier is the last thing they should attempt to do," he said.
Matanzima said the soldiers would be deployed in land, air and maritime domains.