Detector dog unit expanding its paw print across the country!

September 17, 2012 — 51 Comments

On a subject close to my heart. The National Detector Dog Unit of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) is getting a boost with more than 70 new dogs and handlers being trained to make up a number of new dog units around the country. Apart from filling a couple of current vacancies, the new recruits will form part of Detector Dog Units in Port Elizabeth, Zeerust, Mahamba, Vioolsdrift, Nakop, Maseru Bridge and an expanded Mpumalanga unit. All the additional units are expected to become operational in the first quarter of 2013.

“By next year, most of the major land, sea and air ports should have their own detector dog units (DDU),” said the senior manager of the DDU, Hugo Taljaard. “The ultimate aim is to have dog units at every port, with a total of 500 new handlers and dogs needed. However, this is a long-term (four-year) project, aimed at enhancing our non-intrusive capabilities at ports of entry to prevent cross-border smuggling.”

The SARS Detector Dog Unit has also been asked recently to assist with training in Namibia and Angola, following the assistance we gave the Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA) to establish a Detector Dog capability. The DDU continues to see major successes countrywide, with a recent copper bust in the news last weekend.

Detector dog Umaga, an 18-month old German Shepherd, sniffed out 84kg of copper at the Beit Bridge border post during his first operation. Umaga recently completed his training as a copper sniffer dog. The copper was concealed in luggage in a trailer entering South Africa. Umaga is the second sniffer dog to be trained to sniff out copper. Milo, a five-year-old Labrador, has also already nosed out his first contraband copper. There has been an increase in the smuggling of copper wire across the border into South Africa, since copper has a much higher value here than in the other member states of the Southern African Development Community. The increase has meant that Customs has had to beef up its ability to detect contraband copper. The wire is usually concealed in compartments under trucks.

The Detector Dog Unit was the first in the world to train “dual application dogs”, Hugo explained. So instead of being trained or “imprinted” to detect only one scent, they are able to detect a combination of scents, e.g. narcotics and currency, tobacco and endangered species. Both Milo and Umaga are dual dogs and they can detect narcotics/tobacco and copper wire. The explosives detector dogs are the only dogs not dual trained due to the safety risk.

The dogs are an integral part of our Customs workforce and are seen as officers in their own right. They are therefore looked after with the utmost care and attention and are even provided with special reflector jackets, cooler jackets for the heat and dog shoes made to protect their feet from hot surfaces. Source: SARS Communications Division


51 responses to Detector dog unit expanding its paw print across the country!


    im a saps member and would love to join sars dog unit

    Aurelio Freano Antonio October 30, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    I would like to inform the concern that i am an experinced dog handler,i worked two years for Mechem and now i am looking for a permanent job.i am intrested to get a post in DDU under SARS CUSTOMS.i am a male and reside in Zeerust.i speak english,portugues,afrikaans en setsawna.i am willing to start at any time.i hope my request wont be ignored.please get back to me for any further details.Thank you

      SIMON NOKWANE MOLOTO December 19, 2012 at 6:11 am

      Hi guys I’m Simon nokwane moloto, I’m an ex member of the sandf cause I didn’t get a contract and I would love to join sars dog unit cause I am detection qaulified in both explosive, narcotics, gaude and patrol, which goes with the passion for dogs… If you can nominate me to join you guys in the sars dog unit it would be my pleasure… For more information of my qaulification you can contact me 0744267169/ 0746111375

    SIMON NOKWANE MOLOTO December 19, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    its me again I changed my e-mail address please notify me on, (simon nokwane moloto)

    SIMON NOKWANE MOLOTO December 20, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    I’m simon nokwane moloto 21 years of age, two years expiriance working with dogs, qualified in both in both disiplince of dectection dogs narcotics and explosive, also in gaurd and patrol. I would so love to join sars dog unit and be part of your new project in zerrust. I’m an ex member of the sandf whereby I didn’t get a contract, which would count in my favour to join sars dog unit. Please contact me for more information (0744267169/ 0746111375) my e-mail is giving me a problem that’s why in using another one which is (


      Hi Simon, I will forward your details to the appropriate person in EEG Unit at SARS. You may only receive a response in 2013. Good Luck.

        SIMON NOKWANE MOLOTO December 22, 2012 at 5:26 pm

        Mr Mike poverello thanks for your effort I’d really appriate it if you forward my details to the right person, and it would be my honour to join sars dog unit…. Enjoy your festive season!!!


    when will the dog unit posts be advertised im willing to work anywhere where needed


    I am currently in a specialized SAPS unit and would also love to join your unit. Please provide more detail

    SIMON NOKWANE MOLOTO January 3, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Hi guys its me again Simon nokwane Moloto, just wanted great you in the new year, hope you guys enjoyed your festive season, and hope the dogs are still in good conditions, I’m ready and willing to join sars dog unit with my two years expiriance working with dogs in both dicepline (narcotics and explosive) I’m an ex member of the sandf….

    SIMON NOKWANE MOLOTO January 3, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    Hey guys please inform me via sms or call me on 0744267169/0746111375 cause my phone that I use for Internet access is giving me problems……. (simon nokwane Moloto)


    I wld also like 2 join this unit. For nw I work for Saps

    Charlton Aubrey January 10, 2013 at 7:10 am

    Good day

    Where could I enquire or apply for a job within the SARS Dog unit.


    Good Day Everyone, thank you for your interest in the article and the SARS DDG. Could I suggest you forward your contact details and CVs to Commander Hugo Taljaard – Head of SARS DDG – email:

    Sinokwethu Dlamini January 30, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    I would like to expand my knowledge and utilize the dog skills that i have by joining your unit.currently i am a dog handler at SAPS K9 ACADEMY since 2007.


    Who may I contact in connection for vacant posts ex police dog handler and Iraq and also worked at vioolsdrift at a astage can somebody please let me know at


    im a detective sergeant at saps, can you please inform me when the posts is going to be advertised at email, thanx

    arthur john oliver February 21, 2013 at 6:39 am

    I would like to join SARS detector dog unit,I’m currently working for DCS. I I’m a qualified doghandler ,12yrs experience in the field,received my traininig at Baviaanspoort dogtraining school,patrol and explosives certificate.

    sibusiso nicholas masilela May 21, 2013 at 9:39 am

    im very interested to join customs one day i have complete the course of import and export management certificate in intec college if there is a vacancy let me know iwill fill or notify me at 0734483540 or regard nicholas masilela.


    Please keep me updated on when will the training of dog handlers start and where will it be.
    I reside in Zeerust and am a professional experienced dog handler.

    Nathen Hendricks July 25, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    Hi I’m Nathen 22 years of age for the western cape knysna .I have serve 2 years in the military as k9 handler (detection an attack handler,with a little background of tracking)I’m interest to work as k9. I’m very hard and dedicated person, highly committed as k9 handler. I’m currently without work. I will highly appreciated it if you give me a opportunity to work for you. Feel free to contact me for further information… @ 084 628 5887 / 071186 9647


    I am zambian sniffer dog handler trained in Germany,looking for employement.My phone +260977461343


    would love to start work anytime when asked. What do I need to do in order to apply


    l am Zambian male aged 45 trained in narcotic sniffer dog handling.l was trained in Germany at a Police traiining school.l would you to help me find a job anywhere my services can be needed. My Email adress is

    Motsei Bethuel Maphike September 23, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    I am currently employed by SAPS, employed as a patrol dog handler. I would like to join and be part of SARS DDG family. I have successfully completed courses in Crowd Management, Crime Scene Management, Tactital dog handlers course with the SAPS and have also completed a skills diploma in Safety & Security Management. I acquire great interpersonal skills, I believe my skills and attributes will be of vast advance to the department

    mbudzeni magodi November 6, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    hi am 24 yrs male currently working as an explosive dog handler in saps k9 m interested in joining your unit

    Daniel Thapelo Maluleke November 11, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    hi my name is currently working as a trainer at saps academy. I am a fully qualified dog handler. Explosives,Patrol,Fire,Search and rescue and am also a tactical trainer would like to further my career as dog handler at SARS.I have 09 years experience as a dog handler.

    tebonngwe Mphatsoe January 7, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Hi im tebonngweworking 4 saps as an explosive detection dog handler and would love to join sars customs dog unit when will the customs post be advertised.


    Am hereby applying for any post of working as a dog handler i did the following course EDD MDD.vehacle pattern search, building search, mine ditection..please if you have anything let me knw,even to volunteer i can do that am asking for any opportunity here..


    Hi i am johannes mngomezulu from south africa based at pretoria,im a professional dog handler with 1 year experience..did the following course EDD and MDD am looking foward to work @ SARS as a dog handler or even to volunteer its fine by me tnx hope you will get back to me as soon as posseble my cell number 0780 311 819


    I am a patrol/explosive dog handler in the south African police service and would like to expand and share my knowledge

    Dineo Zikhali July 6, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Hey I am a lady aged 25,and hav a course in patrol nd detection.I am currently wrkng in da SANDF under Dog Unit,and would like to get a job in Sars Customs under dog unit if there is an open vacancy,I am not area bound and can b utilised in every province you want me to work at.Hope you find this in order.

    Kelven Govender August 2, 2014 at 7:39 am

    Hi ,i have 14 year exprience in correctional services dog unit and have the following courses patrol and explosive dog course + completed my identification of explosive devices with SAPS. i love to join your team in the SARS dog unit please approve,thanks


      Hi Kelvin, To the best of my knolwedge, SARS recruits from within its own ranks for purposes of training and expansion of its existing K-9 unit. It is possible that opportunities in this foeld may arise in the future with the envisaged establishment of a Border Management Agency in South Africa. I suggest you watch these developments in the media closely. Good Luck.


    Hi I’m a qualified explosive dog handler and would like to join sars dog unit

    angelo marcelino kotze January 8, 2015 at 9:32 am

    I am a k9 search and rescue handler in th saps looking to join the elite customs detector dog unit


    Hi. Are you still looking for new recruits? This is my dream job and have been trying for so long to be able to work with these intelligent animals. Please respond to email provided.


    Good day. I am currently a reservist with nine years experience nether handled dogs before accept my own and would love to join your unit looking for better prospects I am now currently doing investigations for a courier company: My contact details:0820666328.

    Nkanyiso Khawula August 7, 2015 at 12:05 am

    I’m Mr Khawula working for SANDF at Pretoria still young and energetic,I would love to join ur team and work with dogs on daily basis.I would like to keep South African airports safe at all times.

    mawonga bangela December 3, 2015 at 7:08 am

    I’m a former SANDF member and current SAPS members who would like to join any wing of SARS customs department


    Hi my name is Kevin McDonald. I do Armed Response for the past 17 years at the same security firm. I would like to work with dogs. Its my passion.


    I have 3 puppies that might be of use to you. They are border collie cross rottweiler. I have 1 male that looks border collie and 2 female that look rottweiler. I do not wish to send them to the spca and have been unable to find homes for them. Should you be intrested please contact me asap. Thanking you

    Sabatla Isaac Moleme March 25, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    I am a qualified patrol dog handler with an NQF Level 5 Roc(Resolving of crime detective course),fire arm controll system ,loss controll in the SAPS where I just worked for just over 10 years ,i am further interested in learing more in the k9 unit as I will be debeloping my career and working with what I have passion for please assist me secure a position in ir unit
    Thank you


    I’m Mr Chetty, currently working for the dept of correctional services, I have experience in narcotic and patrol dogs
    My passion is to work with dogs
    If there is a vacancy at cape town SARS dog unit please inform me

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