7 South African Infantry Battalion

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7 South African Infantry Battalion
SADF 7 SAI emblem.png
7 SAI Emblem
Active1 October 1973 to present
Country South Africa
Branch South African Army
TypeMotorised infantry
Part ofSouth African Infantry Formation
Garrison/HQPhalaborwa, Limpopo
Motto(s)Tenacuter (Perseverance)
Commanders
First Commanding OfficerCommandant Eddie Webb
Insignia
Company level insigniaSA Army Company Insignia.png
SA Motorised Infantry beret bar circa 1992
SA Motorised Infantry beret bar

7 South African Infantry Battalion is a motorised infantry unit of the South African Army.

History[edit]

Origin[edit]

1973: 7 SAI was established on October 1, at Bourke's Luck, Eastern Transvaal (Mpumalanga) by Commandant Eddie Webb.[1] 1974:The first national servicemen began training in 1974.[1]

1980: 7 SAI is relocated to Phalaborwa.[1]

Angola Bush War Deployment[edit]

1983: The July intake's training phase was shortened to accommodate a need to deploy a company for Operation Askari and Sector 10. This company would deploy with 101 Battalion in a reaction force role.

1984: a Company was stationed at Rundu for reaction force duties under the command of 202 Battalion for 6 months, whereafter they were posted to Nepara for a further 6-month deployment. After a period of leave they were posted back to Nepara for a third time, spending their 40 celebration on the 17/30 cutline in a fox camp (BF). Members of this company eventually joined the 905/6 reaction force duties. Bravo company was also involved in operations to capture SWAPO radio operators using two modified Ratel's fitted with radio direction-finding equipment named Pointer and Spotter.

1987: August intake of 7 SAI's Alpha Company, was deployed to the operational area of Cuito Cuanavale, Angola in 1988 under the command of a Captain Butler. Alpha Company consisted of five infantry platoons as well as an 81 mm (3.2 in) mortar platoon and was deployed to the eastern side of the Cuito river (a tributary of the Okavango River) for a period of 1 month. During its time of deployment, various platoons were allocated as mechanised infantry (in Ratels) while the remainder formed a base camp sending out roving patrols in the area.[2]

After a month of deployment in Angola, the peace accords were signed and Alpha Company to a base camp in Rundu, South West Africa.

South West Africa / Namibia[edit]

1989: during the UNTAG deployment in South West Africa/Namibia, Alpha Company provided base defence for the town of Oshakati with some of its platoons participating in the various counter insurgency operations against the PLAN infiltration that occurred during this time.[2]

Post Apartheid[edit]

7 SAI changed from a training unit to a rear area protection unit when 113 Battalion became part of the unit.

113 Battalion which was merged with 7 SAI

1994: 7 SAI became part of the Rapid Deployment Force during November.

Lesotho intervention[edit]

1998: 7 SAI took part in Operation Boleas in Lesotho to restore order after an army coup.[1]

Burundi[edit]

2002: 7 SAI took part in the UN/AU peace mission, Operation Fibre to restore stability in Burundi.[1]

Under the Infantry Formation[edit]

2002: 7 SAI was placed under the command of the South African Army Infantry Formation as a motorised infantry unit.[3]

The SANDF's Motorised Infantry is transported mostly by Samil trucks, Mamba APC's or other un-protected motor vehicles. Samil 20, 50 and 100 trucks transport soldiers, towing guns, and carrying equipment and supplies. Samil trucks are all-wheel drive, in order to have vehicles that function reliably in extremes of weather and terrain. Motorised infantry have an advantage in mobility allowing them to move to critical sectors of the battlefield faster, allowing better response to enemy movements, as well as the ability to outmaneuver the enemy.

Insignia[edit]

The unit's emblem is a rooikat superimposed on a Maltese cross, which is in memory of two gold crosses commissioned by the ZAR President TF Burgers and presented to two Bourkes Luck ladies for their help in caring for and nursing wounded Boer commandos during the Sekhukhune War.

Previous dress insignia[edit]

SADF era 7 SAI insignia

Current dress insignia[edit]

SANDF era Infantry Formation insignia

Leadership[edit]

Leadership
From Honorary Colonel To
From Commanding Officer To
October 1973 Cmdt Eddie Webb[a] December 1974
January 1975 Cmdt J. van Niekerk[b] May 1977
June 1977 Cmdt J.F. Gouws[b] December 1978
January 1979 Cmdt H.J. Schultz[b] December 1981
January 1982 Cmdt W. Swanepoel[b] January 1988
January 1988 Cmdt J.E. Rabe[b] April 1988
May 1988 Cmdt J.M.P. Wessels n.d.
n.d. Cmdt Werner Sott n.d.
1994 Lt Col Daan Van Der Merwe 1997
n.d. Lt Col Barnard n.d.
n.d. Lt Col Tjaart Van Der Walt n.d.
2005 Lt Col Mabotja n.d.
2009 Lt Col Khathutshelo Nethononda n.d.
2013 Lt Col Andrew Matlaila n.d.
2017 Lt Col Tilsetso Sekgobela n.d.
From Regimental Sergeants Major To
October 1973 WO1 V. Coleman December 1974
January 1975 WO1 A.J. Hattingh December 1977
January 1978 WO1 J.H. Mileham December 1979
January 1980 WO1 J.F. Somers PMM December 1982
January 1983 WO1 J.H. Steenekamp HC PMM November 1986
December 1986 WO1 J.J. Pretorius July 1988
August 1988 WO1 J.J. Quintin Lategan MMM n.d.
n.d. WO1 James Blom n.d.
1 January 1994 WO1 Dirk Prins January 1999
n.d. WO1 Chinainai n.d.
n.d. WO1 Jr Raath n.d.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Later Brigadier General
  2. ^ a b c d e Later Colonel

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Fact file: 7 SA Infantry Battalion". defenceWeb. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
  2. ^ a b Griffiths, P.B. Corporal PB Griffiths, 83344937, Alpha Company Mortar Platoon, Aug 1987 intake. unpublished interview.
  3. ^ SA Soldier, January 2003, p.37