Opening of the Greater Marakele Security Cluster Satellite Joint Operations Centre


Looking at the perfect, lily-white cube which houses the new Greater Marakele Security Cluster Satellite Joint Operations Centre (boy is that a mouthful – lets stick to GMSC JOC), it is difficult to grasp the significance of this small, unassuming structure.

The official ribbon cutting and opening of the Satellite JOC in November 2020.

Yet, housed inside is the technological stepping-stone linking the Welgevonden JOC to Marakele National Park, our largest neighbour to the south-west. This vital collaboration between SANParks and Welgevonden Game Reserve will have several hard-hitting impacts. Firstly, it means that information collected by the Welgevonden JOC is shared directly, in real time, with the GMSC JOC and vice versa. Secondly, this expansion of the information sharing network doubles the team effort, reduces response time and increases the crime fighting ability of both parties, making the GMSC safer for animals and people alike.

Marakele National Park General Manager Mpadeni Nthangeni explains the inner workings of the Satellite JOC.

“The key to success is joint approaches and collaboration, the Satellite JOC will enhance capabilities in the form of crime in general. Our holistic approach includes all within the GMSC allowing us to have a manageable approach in Joint operations within the area. In any environment information is key, we believe that this will only elevate us and as technology evolves, we will evolve with it to have the best approaches and understand our risk and react accordingly,” adds Kassie Knoetze Welgevonden Reaction’s Security Manager.

The GMSC is a defined area within the Waterberg proactively monitored by Welgevonden Game Reserve. Access to the GMSC is monitored by ~58 Licence Plate Recognition Cameras distributed throughout the cluster and access is controlled through manned boom gates. In November 2018 SANParks and Welgevonden Game Reserve signed a partnership agreement with the common goal of curbing wildlife poaching. The partnership aims to effectively enhance security, address socio-economic challenges and bolster development within the area.

SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni and Welgevonden’s CEO Shaun McCartney greet before talks get underway.

The ceremonial ribbon cutting and official opening of the GMSC JOC, which took place on the 29th November 2020, brought together senior officials from Welgevonden Game Reserve management, and SANParks. Attendees included SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni, SANParks Managing Executive Property Mokoena, Marakele National Park General Manager Mpadeni Nthangeni, (ret) Maj. Gen Johan Jooste from Peace Parks foundation seconded to DEFF and Welgevonden’s Security Director Kassie Knoetze. The ceremony was followed by discussions hosted by François Spruyt, Welgevonden Game Reserve’s Chairman of the Board, and CEO Shaun McCartney at Taaibos River Lodge.

“The value of our relationship with SAN Parks is immeasurable. Through this partnership we can make a significant contribution to enhancing socio-economic upliftment and empower local communities.  This can only be achieved if there is dependable security in the greater area as only then the economic activity forged by the conservation and ecotourism sectors can be sustainable,” Shaun McCartney added.

A group photo before heading into discussions at Taaibos River Lodge.

We continue to work closely with Marakele National Park and SANParks to enhance the Waterberg, highlight her beauty and protect both its people and wildlife.

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