1 SWA Provost Unit

No history of the SACMP would be complete without a reference to their involvement within South West Africa (SWA).

Until 1968 there were no SA Army military police personnel in SWA. During that year a Sgt P.P.D du Plessis from the SACMP became the first representative of the "redcaps" within SWA. In spite of extremely limited manpower a sub-unit or detachment, known as SWA Command Military Police, came into existance. This detachment was commanded by the following people until 1976:
  • Ssgt J. van der Westhuizen - 1969-1972.
  • Ssgt J. de Bruin - 1972-1974.
  • Ssgt N. Jooste - 1974-1975.
  • Ssgt J.N. Bacon - 1976
When the detachment was given unit status during 1978, the first officer, Capt J.A. de Klerk, was appointed.

During 1980 the title of the unit was changed to that of 1 SWA Provost Unit as it was considered to be part of the SWA Territory Force. Up to 1987, this unit was under the command of 1 SWA Logistical Brigade. From 1987 until its disbandment during 1989, the unit's higher headquarters was Sector 40.

Outposts of the unit were deployed throughtout southern SWA at the following places:
  • Sector 30 - Otjiwarongo
  • Sector 50 - Gobabis
  • Sector 60 - Keetmanshoop
  • SWA Military School - Okahandja
  • 911 Battakion - Oamites
South-West Africa map

The northern part of SWA was served by the SA Army military police unit in Grootfontein, namely Logistical Base Grootfontein Provost Unit. This unit has outposts in the following places:
  • Sector 10 - Oshakati and Opuwa
  • Sector 20 - Rundu and Omega Base
  • 61 Mechanised Battalion Group - Tsumeb
As would be usual for the military police, the tasks of 1 SWA Provost Unit were investigation of crime that ranged from drug offences to the apprehension of absentees and deserters, escort duties, traffic patrols, handling of military detainees and prisoners, the maintenance of military discipline as well as patrols at railway stations and airports.

During Operations MODULER, HOOPER and PACKER in Angola during 1987 and 1988, personnel from the unit performed functions involved with traffic control. They also controlled key points and maintained general discipline as far north as Mavinga in Angola. The operations involved personnel at all of the outposts and the unit itself as all military traffic had to travel through the length of SWA. No-one was injured during these operations, but sadly three members were tragically killed in a traffic accident during the withdrawal.

At the beginning of 1989, personnel from 1 SWA Provost Unit and it's outposts were deployed along the road south to supervise the withdrawal of South African forces from SWA in terms of UN Resolution 435. The policing function officially ended on 1 February 1989 and all SWA Territory Force National Service members left the unit on 28 April 1989. The last remaining personnel rolled up the military traffic route home and their convoy crossed the Namibian/South Africa border on 30 June 1989, a day before the UN deadline. These military policemen were the last representatives of the SA Army to leave SWA, now Namibia.

The brassards worn by the unit were identical to those used by the SACMP at the time, but their cap badges and collar badges had a SWA flavour.
  • Cap Badge. Personnel from 1 SWA Provost Unit worn the standard cap badge of the SWATF Headquarters, a "gemsbok" head.

  • Unit Badge. The unit badge was worn on the right hand pocket of the uniform shirts and jackets. Two versions of the insignia were used - one in use when the unit was attached to 1 SWA Logistics Brigade and another when the unit was attached to Sector 40 (Windhoek).

  • Collar Badge. Two different collar badges were used. For a short while branches from the logistical organisation were used. These were replaced by collar badges similar to those of the SACMP, but which made use of "welwitchia" leaves in place of the RSA proteas.

  • Beret Flash.The beret flash was red, gold and black.

Unit Badge 1987-89

Late Type
Collar Badge

Beret Flash