SAPS welcomes first female special task force (STF) member to complete STF Selection Training Programme

A thirty-one-year-old Constable has become the first woman to complete the South African Police Service(SAPS) Special Task Force Selection Training Programme in the history of the organisation.

The member with 11 years service is regarded as the only female police officer to have successfully completed the STF training programme without any amendments to the training to suite females. She is also the only female police officer that is currently serving in the Special Task Force (STF) unit as an operational member.

Today, she formed part of a platoon of ten male police officers who were bestowed with their STF parachute wings by the National Commissioner of the SAPS, General Fannie Masemola.

The Special Task Force Parachute Wings are awarded to those members who have undergone and completed the Special Task Force Selection Training Programme. The STF Parachute wings are worn on the left chest and signifies that the recipient has been trained to a high level of skill in weapon proficiency, advanced para-military rural tactics, advanced tactical policing for high risk incidents, hostage release tactics in a variety of high risk incidents as well as the ability to deploy operationally by parachute into rural environments.

Also standing on parade were an additional ten (10) STF members who were bestowed with their Operators Badge after undergoing a two-year probation period during which they were already serving as members of the elite unit.

The female police officer from the Western Cape and whose identity cannot be revealed for security reasons says this momentous achievement must be a motivation for other women who continue to break barriers in male dominated environments.

“If you really want something you must do everything to obtain it. I wanted to be part of the best , either the best or nothing. If I can do it, other women can and will be able to do it”, said the only female member attached to the STF.

The Special Task Force is the only paramilitary unit in the SAPS and falls under the Specialised Operations Component which is led by a female commander, Major General Nonhlanhla Zulu. Together with other units and components, they report to the organisation’s first female Deputy National Commissioner, Lieutenant General Tebello Mosikili.

The National Commissioner of the SAPS, General Fannie Masemola says the organisation will continue to empower and recognise women.

“Out of 906 applications to join this elite unit, 589 applicants qualified for provisional selection. Ultimately, only 93 applicants reported for selection of which only 11 successfully completed the STF Basic Training programme. Suffice to say, the 11 successful candidates, together with currently serving 10 STF members, have done the organisation proud. All members on parade have shown dedication and commitment to their profession. The STF selection criteria is very stringent and those who are selected, must prove their mettle throughout their intensive and rigorous training”, said General Masemola.

The Special Task Force Unit was established in 1976. It’s mandate includes responding and providing operational support only to high risk incidents which include terrorism and hostage related incidents, rescue missions amongst a host of other high risk matters.

Source: Government of South Africa

News Reporter