Military legal training scaled up


The Legal Services Division of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) used the just finished Rand Show to showcase its practical vocational training (PVT) programme as part of efforts to up litigation efficiency with a view to a higher successful prosecution rate.

In the parlance of the military legal beagles, PVT is known as pupillage, a term applied solely to the legal profession. One definition has it pupillage is a period of on-the-job training undertaken by prospective barristers before they enter the profession.

“The Defence Legal Service Division takes pride in providing cutting edge military legal service to the Department of Defence (DoD) and must provide adequate and continuous training and development,” an unidentified contributor to SANDF communications reports.

The PVT programme aims to build a small and competent litigation capability in the DoD and align military law practitioners and other legally qualified DoD employees with Legal Practice Council (LPC) standards and norms.

The Rand Show marked the public debut of the PVT programme following its launch in January by SANDF Chief, General Rudzani Maphwanya. Visitors to the Legal Services component of the SANDF exhibition were able to see a mock military court at work with defence specific legal information available from pupillage wing commander, Major MA Moekoa.

The importance of PVT to and in the SANDF was made clear by Maphwanya when he attended and officially launched PVT in the South African military earlier this year. He told those present: “With this course, among others, we want to establish a unique training ground for attorneys and advocates in the modern era. The aim is to professionalise the core of the military lawyer’s profession to be admitted as attorneys or advocates able to represent the department in the High Court”.

Applications are being accepted for the 2024 PVT programme with DoD BA LLB graduates urged to apply. The pupillage programme is open to DoD and SANDF Public Service Act personnel (PSAP) as well as suitably qualified employees from other government departments and public institutions.