Another indication of just how difficult it is to find employment in South Africa comes from the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) which this month took into its ranks 1 704 successful Military Skills Development (MSD) volunteers.
They represent just over 1.2% of the 133 278 young South Africans who applied for the two-year stint in the military. The majority of applications are reportedly from previously unemployed South Africans unable to find employment in the private sector while a handful are said to see the MSD time as the starting point for a career in the military.
On conclusion of their military service, a small number of MSD volunteers will find themselves part of the full-time force with the majority expected to take their military skills and put them to work in the Reserve Force.
The landward force, in the form of the SA Army, is again the largest beneficiary of the four services, taking 1 205 MSD volunteers. They reported for duty at Infantry School in Oudtshoorn last Sunday (5 January) and on successful completion of basic military training (BMT) will find themselves sourced to the various units and formations which make up the Army. These include air defence, armour, artillery, engineers, infantry, intelligence, signals and training as well as the two full-time brigades – 43 and 46.
SA Air Force (SAAF) personnel numbers were boosted by the addition of 235 successful MSD volunteers last Sunday. According to SANDF Corporate Communications they are doing BMT at AFB Zwartkop. This is probably what is now called AFB Zwartkop West, previously the Air Force Gymnasium which is now located adjacent to AFB Hoedspruit in Limpopo.
The maritime service gained 150 MSD volunteers currently doing BMT at SAS Saldanha in Western Cape and there are 114 MSD volunteers in the ranks of the SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) doing basics at SAMHS Training Formation in Lephalale, Limpopo.