18 Jan 1976: 72436728BC 2/Lieutenant Andries Muller from School of Armour was Killed in Action during a contact with enemy forces during Ops Savannah. Armoured cars were sent out from Amboiva on the Massango road on patrol. They took a shortcut and after crossing a small stream, contact with the enemy was made. He was killed while leading his men during the fierce fire-fight that followed. He was 19.
18 Jan 1978: 76927508SP Rifleman Antonio Cassamano from 32 Battalion was Killed in action during a contact with the enemy forces when his patrol was ambushed at a waterhole near Omalapapa in Southern Angola. He was 24.
18 Jan 1980: Two members from the 2 SAI Support Company Platoon were Killed in Action or Died of Wounds when their patrol was ambushed by PLAN Insurgents while on patrol near the Cut-line. Fresh spoor from three PLAN insurgents heading North across the cutline and the platoon Commander Lt Ferreira was granted permission to follow the spoor for a few kilometers into Angola before returning if nothing was found. Half the platoon remained with the heavy kit at the cutline while the other half proceeded into Southern Angola wearing only skeleton webbing. The spoor went for a short distance North before turning West into the setting sun. The three PLAN insurgents had in the meantime re-joined a much larger group of about 100 more of their cadres and had set up a classic L-shaped ambush. With the setting sun in their eyes, the Section walked into the ambush and came under a hail of small arms fire from AK-47 Assault Rifles, RPD machine-guns and RPG-7 rockets. Rifleman Froneman was hit in the chest and was killed instantly while Maritz was critically wounded after being hit in the shoulder and the bullet ricocheted down into one of his lungs. The Platoon Commander stood his ground and the Section continued to engage the dug-in PLAN positions. As darkness was falling, the order was given to retire. Rifleman Froneman’s body could not be recovered from the battlefield but the wounded Rifleman Maritz was carried by the Ops Medic. Another patrol located about 4km away from the ambush radioed the base for support and a Puma Helicopter was sent to search for the patrol. A few hours later, they located the Section at a kraal a few kilometers from the ambush site and the wounded Rifleman Maritz was evacuated together with the remainder of the platoon. Unfortunately, he succumbed to his wounds a few hours later. Rifleman Froneman’s body was recovered from the battlefield at first light. Blood stains found in the PLAN trenches indicated that they had definitely suffered casualties but any bodies there may have been had been removed. The SADF casualties in this action were:
1975 – Pte Sibindi TEMBA, Spt Coy, 2 Bde, died on active service.
1978 – Pte Eland ELLIOT, 2nd Bn, RDR, died on active service.
1979 – DSA Robert MLOTSHWA, Kp Prtn, Intaf, died on active service.