The Reserve Force is assisting the Department of Correctional Services providing personnel who will find full-time employment in the ranks of those charged with, among others, ensuring the national prison population remains behind bars.
According to the Defence Reserves website “the SANDF (SA National Defence Force) has assisted the Department of Correctional Services with recruiting Reserve members for full-time careers”.
No numbers of part-time soldiers who plan to or have decided on a move to Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola’s department has been released. This, according to a well-placed source, is because interviews were conducted with Reserve Force soldiers in areas Correctional Services has vacancies. He gave Barberton in Mpumalanga as an example, saying there was a prison there as well as an SA Army Reserve Force unit – Regiment General Botha.
“It makes sense to recruit where Correctional Services has vacancies,” he said, adding overall the Reserve Force component of the national defence force numbered close to the 20 000 mark.
During the recently concluded Operation Notlela (in support of government’s national state of disaster), 14 700 Reserves were deployed, leaving around five thousand without a call-up. This is apparently the number of part-time soldiers who are not regularly called up. They are generally dependent on call-ups for income and, by all accounts, would be amenable to changing camouflage fatigues for the shirt/blouse, trousers and bunny jackets of Correctional Services.
Once a decision is made to join Correctional Services, part-time soldiers are no longer eligible to be part of the national defence force. By law, a person is not allowed to wear two uniforms, defenceWeb was told.
While it is not yet clear how many part-time soldiers will be handing in their uniforms, Defence Reserves is not perturbed about a decline in numbers. The SA Army Reserve will be at least 500 bodies better off thanks to the Surgeon General, Lieutenant General Zola Dabula, who wants 500 or more men and women in the ranks of the SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) Reserve out. They will, according to a SAMHS information bulletin, be transferred to the Army Reserve which has “identified a need to expand capacity”.