The infantry soldier has been and still is the mainstay of any landward force and as such is usually seen as young, fit and strong.
While the fit and strong appellations may apply to riflemen in the Infantry Formation of the SA Army, the young not so much.
Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, answering a question in Parliament posed by fellow ANC parliamentarian, Tidimalo Legwase, said the average age of the full-time force infantry soldier was 38.
According to the Minister, soldiers in the SA Infantry Corps (SAIC) [incorrect as infantry is one of nine formations in the landward force, as per the official Department of Defence website] “are deemed to be members from the rank of rifleman up to lieutenant colonel. Members above the rank of lieutenant colonel are part of the SA Staff Corps (SA St C) and no longer part of SAIC, although their original mustering may have been in SAIC”.
She gave average ages for the different rank groups as rifleman 34, lance corporal 44, corporal 46, sergeant 48, staff sergeant 51, warrant officer (class one) 53, warrant officer (class two) 55, second lieutenant 33, lieutenant 36, captain 41, major 46 and lieutenant colonel 50.