Don’t bother applying for next year’s military skills development (MSD) intake – it’s not going to happen.
That’s the gist of a message from the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), conveyed to South Africa by its directorate of corporate communication. A statement this week has it there will not be an intake of volunteers next January. This after the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans heard at its first meeting of the year earlier this month there wasn’t going to be a 2021 intake, apparently due to the coronavirus pandemic and implementation of a national state of disaster, now in place for over 300 days at various lockdown levels.
The committee also heard, as part of cost saving measures in particularly the human resource component of the SANDF, consideration will be given to MSD intakes once every two years. A presentation by the SANDF senior human resources director Vice Admiral Asiel Kubu had it “the next MSD intake is planned for January 2022 followed by January 2024”.
That plan is now out the window, with the latest SANDF statement saying: “Due to the prevalence of COVID-19 pandemic, the SANDF has taken a decision not to advertise the application forms for the Military Skills Development System (MSDS) programme for the year 2022. There will not be any MSDS selection for the indicated period”.
It goes on to warn those thinking of volunteering and applying not to make use of forms “currently circulating on social media”. “They are old forms and the public must not use them”.
The MSD system annually sees around 1 700 to 2 000 volunteers who make it through a selection programme start a two-year stint in one of the four SANDF services.
At the end of the 24-month period a handful of these volunteers are fortunate enough to be offered short-term contracts in the regulars, the full-time force, with the remainder expected to put their military skills to use in the Reserve Force.
MSD is the military’s major contribution to providing employment as per the National Development Plan 2030 which aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality in South Africa.