Moreleta Park shooter was no Recce, says special ops expert

2016-10-13 21:01
Residents trying to get into their homes (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

Residents trying to get into their homes (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

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Cape Town - The Moreleta Park shooter was no Recce as some reports claim, the chairperson of the SA Special Forces Association (SASFA) said, after four people - including the shooter - died over a complex complaint on Wednesday night.

"If there is any member of the special forces, we know who they are," said Pierre Lundberg, after claims emerged that the shooter had once belonged to the controversial specialist military unit.

This was after four people died, including a resident at The Meadows, thought to have been the shooter.

Two policemen and two Brinant Security guards took cover until they could run to safety under cover of a task force operation. 

Police have not released the names of those who died yet, but the Afrikaans Language Commission posted on Facebook that it was shocked to hear that its secretary, Jannie Earle, was among the four people killed in the stand-off.

"We send our sympathies to his family and colleagues over this enormous loss," the commission said on its Facebook page on Thursday.

Two rifles found at shooter's house

According to Maroela Media, he was a neighbour, and his dog had been killed by the shooter in the past.

Head of security at the estate, Edward Gobey, was also killed according to information provided at the scene on Wednesday evening.

Police spokesperson Captain Dave Miller said not all the next of kin had been informed yet.

He could reveal that two licensed rifles were found in the shooter's house after police breached the unit.

A relieved Brinant security area manager, Carl Coston, said on Wednesday night that the two policemen and the two guards who had accompanied a delegation to the shooter, to deal with a complaint that he was throwing stones, were shocked, but not physically harmed.

Lundberg said the shooter, if he was Danie Small as identified in some media, was never a Special Force Operator and was in no manner associated with SASFA.

Lundberg said the association was constantly having to distance itself from bar talk and grand claims of Recce feats, such as fighting off large groups of people barehanded "with a knife between their teeth".

Rigorous psychological and physical testing

Since the unit was established in 1972, there had never been more than 1 000 qualified operatives, he explained.
Of this number, half were black, and there were never more than 250 in service, so it was not difficult to keep track of who had passed the rigorous psychological and physical testing and training for the coveted special operative badge.

Lundberg said the Recces also kept an eye out for each other and if one was in need of support, they rallied around them.

For example, one became an alcoholic, and so the fraternity helped him find support to recover, and he was now working with the association on special projects.

They had never heard of an incident like this among their ranks before, he said.

Lundberg said he was sometimes astounded at the lengths some people would go to, to pretend they were in an elite military unit.

He said special forces around the world had the same problem with people claiming to belong to the US Seals and Russia's Spetznatz.

Who is a Recce

The association had even set up a section on its website on how to spot a bogus Recce, or operator of the 1 Reconnaissance Commando set up in Oudtshoorn in 1972.

"Of the total number that ever qualified, around 20% are still serving, with about 20% deceased," according to the explainer.

These people were not Recces, according to SASFA:
- Those who served only in a supporting capacity in the South African Special Forces (this could include many different base functions);
- Those who served in the Reconnaissance wings of other elite units (Examples could be 32 Battalion or 31 Battalion);
- Those who served in the South African Airborne units, including the Pathfinders (Examples are 44 Parachute Battalion and 1 Parachute Battalion),
- Those who served under Chief of Staff Intelligence (CSI) in intelligence units (sometimes referred to as "operators" amongst themselves, but not Special Forces Operators);
- Those who served in the Special Forces of the (then) South West Africa Territorial Force and did NOT later join the South African Special Forces as operators;
- Those who became members of the South African Special Forces League (this entity is now defunct and is replaced by the SA Special Forces Association) and were NOT qualified as Special Forces operators.

He said, without a Recce badge and individual number, a person could not claim to be a Recce.

Read more on:    sandf  |  pretoria  |  crime

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