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Operation Corona will continue

Although the South African Defence Force (SANDF) no longer has a base camp in Gansbaai, it will continue patrolling the area as part of operation Corona.

The base camp was set up in November (“Corona’s base camp set up in Gansbaai”, Hermanus Times, 22 November 2018) in an attempt to curb abalone poaching in the area.

The total value of fines and confiscated goods from 30 November has amounted up to R547 116, reports Captain Walter Kassaka, the defence force’s Operational Communications Officer at its Joint Tactical Headquarters in the Western Cape.

He said: “Since the start of Operation Corona, SANDF, in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (Daff) and the South African Police Service (Saps) confiscated 1 560 abalone valued at R197 500, diving gear and other equipment worth R347 116 and issued fines of R2 500 while operating in Gansbaai.

Kassaka reports that 26 males, between the age 18 and 52, were arrested for illegal poaching in the Hawston to Gansbaai and Eloxlweni area.

Visibility patrols on land with Armour Protected Carriers and on sea with South African Navy patrol vessels were carried out.

He said the forces under command of Joint Tactical Headquarters Western Cape, in Silvermine in Cape Town, set up a base in Gansbaai, from where it launched various land and sea patrols in the coastal areas of the Overberg.

Kassaka added that SANDF forces deployed under Operation Corona (SANDF code name for border safeguarding) will continue maritime border safeguarding operations to protect the country’s marine resources against illegal harvesting, and to prevent any boats and divers in the area from going out to sea to conduct illegal activities.

“This deployment is conducted under the mandate of SANDF’s responsibility for border safeguarding (maritime),” Kassaka said, “and its forces will continue to dominate the Area of Responsibility of the Joint Tactical Headquarters with deployments, obtain situational awareness and prevent any boats and divers in the area proceeding to sea to conduct illegal activities.”

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