[EVENT] Restoring the Rural Commandos
As one of the first acts of the new President Marius Van Haanraads and his National Liberty Party government, an immediate move was made to resurrect the old South African Commando System. The Commandos were part-time volunteers serving as special militia units of the South African Army, and they functioned as a nation-wide network of rural area protection units that helped guard the property and lives of isolated villages and farmers from South Africa's infamous farm attacks.
The force was dissolved by the African National Congress government of President Thabo Mbeki in 2003, for fairly unclear reasons. President Mbeki announced that force was intended to be replaced by "specialized police units" of the South African Police Service, and was supposedly dissolved as it was seen as a symbol of the old Apartheid State. However, other officials cited reasons of racism, constitutional issues, and abuses of power by the commandos, and it is generally agreed that the SAPS have been inadequate replacements.
Regardless of whatever issues the force may have faced or caused, its elimination has caused great pain to rural residents and left them exceedingly vulnerable to farm attacks, which have increased significantly in the absence of the Commandos. President Van Haanraads hopes that restoring one of the more successful aspects of Mandela's Rural Security/Protection Plan will drastically assist in making the countryside safe again, and it is hoped that 50,000 volunteers can be raised within the next year or two, to be supplied with older or excess equipment of the South African Army.
The bill was opposed by the African National Congress and other leftist parties, but was praised and supported by the Democratic Alliance, who reacted to the original disbandment by saying that it was a "'total disaster…the disbanding of the rural commandos was an irresponsible political move which now leaves all farmers and farm workers defenceless and easy targets for criminals."
To assess the effectiveness of the restored Commandos and monitor for racial issues or abuses of power as were reported in the past, a joint military-civilian and multi-racial/ethnic oversight commission of 12 members will be created to monitor and evaluate the Commandos for the first four years of their revived existence, before delivering a comprehensive report to the public which will determine their ultimate destiny. The commission will be headed by Deputy President Simoshile Dubandlela, and President Van Haanraads has announced that further measures for rural protection will be announced in the coming weeks as part of a new protection plan.