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South African Army Combat Training Centre
Lohatla, Northern Cape province, South Africa
SANDF Army Training Combat Centre emblem
SANDF Army Training Combat Centre emblem
Lohatla is located in Northern Cape
Lohatla (Northern Cape)
Type Military Training Area
Site information
Owner Department of Defence
Controlled by  South African Army
Condition In use
Site history
Built 1978
In use 1978-present
Garrison information
Brigadier General Mawethu Mdlulwa

Lohatla is a training area of the South African National Defence Force. It is located in the Northern Cape province of South Africa and is home to the SA Army Combat Training Centre, which is part of the South African Army Training Formation.


The SA Army Combat Training Centre is unique in the sense that it is one of only ten such institutions in the world that provide exclusive and permanent facilities for landward warfare training. Only two of these institutions are located in the Southern hemisphere, of which the SA Army Combat Training Centre is the largest, 158 000 hectares in total.[1]}


This military training institution was founded on 15 January 1978 and was known as the South African Army Battle School.[2]

The Battle School originated due to a need by the Department of Defence for a military training facility where conventional and integrated training on divisional level could be executed.[3]

Nature Reserve

The Ga-Thlose Nature Reserve was proclaimed in 1890 and was managed as its domain by Agricultural Credit. Ownership by the local population was denied through a proclamation in 1976 and the Reserve was proclaimed a restricted military area. The local population living in the area were to be relocated in the passage of time. In the meantime it was agreed that the specific group of the local community could graze their cattle in the designated grazing areas. The movement to Ga-Thlose from the Sishen Gate was also permitted.

Area enlarged

The purchase of farms east and south of the above-mentioned area was completed in 1981 and the area, as a whole, was proclaimed as a restricted military area. The infrastructure taken over from the farmers was in a good condition.

Permanent in house units

During the early nineties, nine self accounting units were permanently based on the terrain:

  • 61 Mechanised Battalion Group, (currently integrated into 8 SAI at Upington)
    61 Mech Battalion
  • Training Group,
  • HQ Unit,
  • 12 Field Engineers Regiment,
  • 8 Signals Group,
    8 Signals badge
  • 101 Works Unit,
    101 Workshop
  • 16 Maintenance Unit, (reactivated on 25 September 1992 at Lohatla. Up to 2000, 16 Maintenance was the 2nd line support institution to forces participating in exercises and day to day support to the School. Since then the unit has developed as a Combat Zone Maintenance Unit)
    16 Maintenance Unit beret badge
  • 8 Division Mobilisation Unit and
    8 Division Mobilization Unit transferred to Lohatla Army Battle School but eventually became the Rapid Deployment Force Mobilisation Unit
Lohatla Signals unit shoulder flash
  • a Provost Unit
    Lohatla Provost Unit

A Forward Air Command Post and Medical Command Post helped to integrate elements from the Air Force and Medical Service.

Forward Air Command Post Lohatla

Visiting Units

Each unit visiting for training is accommodated in one of thirteen unit lines which has tank paving, maintenance areas and stores.



A long-running land dispute involving the South African Army Combat Training Centre (CTC) at Lohatlha in the Northern Cape ended when the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform found alternative land to settle some of the community displaced by the 158 000 hectare base and training area in 1977.[4]

The institution was renamed the South African Army Combat Training Centre on 24 October 2000.[5][6]

Annual Exercise Seboka integrated training

Exercise Seboka demonstrates the training of units in operations from each combat discipline. Infantry, Armour, Artillery, Intelligence, Air Defence Artillery, Engineers as well as elements from the Air Force and Military Health Serves are integrated.The exercise gives units the opportunity to plan and execute mobile warfare operations in real time command and control under the supervision of experienced commanders.[7][8][9]

Training of the African Standby Force

The Army Combat Training Centre hosted the Amani Africa 2 field exercise to demonstrate the African Unions rapid deployment capability in 2015. The field exercise involved five regional economic communities, as structures of the African Union. Approximately 5,400 members from the military, police, and civilian components, representing four of the regional economic regions of the AU participated in the exercise. Countries involved included Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.[10]


From Commanding Officer To
1978 Brigadier F.E.C. van den Berg 1981
1981 Brigadier C. van Rooyen 1984
1984 Brigadier E. Webb nd
01 March 2005 Brigadier General J.D. Magasela 01 December 2007
01 December 2007 Brigadier General Nontobeko Mpaxa 01 March 2013
01 March 2013 Brigadier General Bhasie Gqoboka 31 December 2014
01 January 2015 Brigadier General Mawethu Mdlulwa current
From Regimental Sergeant Major To
c. 1978 WO1 J.H. Burger c. 1980
c. 1980 WO1 G. Venter c. 1981


  1. ^ [1]{{Dead link|date=August 2018}
  2. ^ Martin, Guy. "SA Army bares its teeth during Exercise Seboka - defenceWeb". www.defenceweb.co.za.
  3. ^ "SA soldiers prepare to fight again".
  4. ^ Engelbrecht, Leon. "Lohatlha land dispute settled - defenceWeb". www.defenceweb.co.za.
  5. ^ "TimesLIVE". www.timeslive.co.za.
  6. ^ Martin, Guy. "New gallery: Exercise Seboka 2013 - defenceWeb". www.defenceweb.co.za.
  7. ^ Martin, Guy. "ISS: African Standby Force: how the AU can get it right - defenceWeb". www.defenceweb.co.za.
  8. ^ https://www.defenceweb.co.za/sa-defence/sa-defence-sa-defence/sa-army-exercise-kicks-off-at-lohatla/
  9. ^ https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2017-07-13-us-army-in-sa-for-peacekeeping-exercise/
  10. ^ "SA readies to host AU military field training".

External links

  • Official SA Army Website

Coordinates: 28°01′41″S 23°06′28″E / 28.0280°S 23.1077°E / -28.0280; 23.1077

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