Army Reserves being up- and re-skilled


“South Africanising” the Reserve Force will see part-time soldiers re- and up-skilled to make them more valuable to the one force concept of the Department of Defence (DoD). This will also add value to local economies.

Initiatives envisaged for the SA Army Reserve by director Brigadier General Gerhard Kamffer are the Mzantsi Home Guard, the Conventional Reserve, an Immediate Deployable Capability and a Specialist Capability.

He told defenceWeb “much work has been done on making the Home Guard a reality”. This is the Reserve Force category envisaged to add most value in especially South Africa’s rural and semi-rural areas. This includes a dedicated concept development team based at Infantry School in Oudtshoorn. The school is the land force’s infantry centre of excellence and well-suited to new concepts and their evolution into workable entities.

“The key output from the Mzantsi Home Guard operational concept and doctrine development integrated project team (Mzantsi Home Guard IPT) is, as its name implies, a fully developed concept and supporting operational doctrine for the Home Guard with an interim report due on 31 March,” he said.

On work done to date, there has been additional training for Mzantsi Home Guard elements including disaster response, humanitarian relief, first aid, water supply and purification, provision of sanitation as well as community development and liaison. Numbers of Reserve Force personnel are, of necessity, currently restricted and this has seen emphasis placed on another of the founding blocks of the Home Guard – intelligence.

Delivering intelligence training will prepare part-time soldiers for integration in the SA Army tactical intelligence system where further training will boost intelligence skills. Once training is complete, these soldiers will be critical to on-the-ground actions in searching out intelligence of what is broadly termed “opposition forces (Opfor)”. In the South African context this ranges from undocumented persons (illegal immigrants), through to criminals intent on attacks in rural areas where policing in sparse. The intelligence trained part-time soldiers will put their skills to work with information going to police, Department of Home Affairs immigration officials, rural security and agricultural organisations as well as military units, both regular and part-time, deployed on, for example, border protection.

“The Mzantsi Home Guard initiative along with Project Koba-Tlala will both boost capacity of the landward force, enabling the SA Army to proactively execute intelligence drive military operations. The necessary skills needed to respond to natural and manmade disasters, and assist and stabilise communities in need will also be on hand. Overall, the South Africanisation of the Reserve Force will contribute to government’s developmental agenda as well as the Constitutional imperative the national defence force has to make sure all South Africans are and feel safe,” Kamffer said.