After footage of what looked to be a consignment of “tanks” being delivered this week started doing the rounds on WhatsApp and social media, defence expert Darren Olivier took to Twitter on Sunday morning to explain that it was probably nothing to worry about.
Olivier, the director of African Defence Review, said he was “fairly certain” the clip was showing “a normal delivery of vehicles for the Botswana Defence Force” and that it had been filmed in Namibia, not South Africa.
The Afrikaans being spoken in the clip had led many to conclude it was filmed in South Africa, but many Namibians speak Afrikaans.
“Because Botswana is landlocked, it has to have vehicles delivered by sea to a neighbouring country and sent overland by road or rail and it often uses South African ports,” wrote Olivier.
For those curious, I'm fairly certain this is a normal delivery of vehicles for the Botswana Defence Force. Because Botswana is landlocked, it has to have vehicles delivered by sea to a neighbouring country & sent overland by road or rail and it often uses South African ports.
— Darren Olivier (@darren_olivier) May 17, 2020
He said the wrapped vehicles looked like MOWAG Piranhas, which the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) operates.
“In 2016 it ordered an additional 45 Piranhas, which have been arriving in small batches over the past few years in convoys just like this. In other words, nothing to worry about.”
MOWAG Piranhas are a family of armoured fighting vehicles designed by the Swiss company General Dynamics European Land Systems – Mowag GmbH.
“The trucks seem to be part of the MICA VL ground-based air defence system, which we know that the BDF recently acquired, and the Panhard VBL looks to have a Mistral launcher assembly fitted, which again is something we know the BDF has recently acquired,” Olivier added on Twitter.
He said the registration plates and nearby features looked to be Namibian, so this was likely a BDF order going overland from a Namibian sea port, which he later geolocated to be Walvis Bay.
He concluded that the delivery therefore had nothing to do with the South African lockdown, Covid-19, or any conspiracy theories about foreign troops. Citizen