The death this week of Colonel Monica Muller leaves a void in the Office of Chief Defence Reserves.
She was a pioneer for women throughout her 21-year career in the then SA Defence Force (SADF) and brought her many skills to the Reserve Force after retirement from the SA Army in 1991.
In his tribute to the woman who once held the post of Director: Women in the predecessor to the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), Reserves Chief Major General Roy Andersen said Muller was “a professional officer who maintained the highest standards at all times”.
“Her death is a massive loss to the Reserve Force. Not only was she extremely knowledgeable on Reserve Force administration but she never wavered in her commitment to the Reserves. At the time of her passing we were collaborating on pensions for injured Reserves and their families,” Andersen said.
Muller leaves behind two living monuments as examples of her commitment to South Africans soldiers.
She was, along with her two-star “boss”, the driver of the SANDF Education Trust which has, to date, provided funds to educate more than 130 children of deceased or severely injured SANDF personnel. Muller was also active in the Reserve Force effort to attract university students and graduates to become part-time airmen, medics, sailors and soldiers through the URTP (University Reserve Training Programme). She was, at the time of her death, SSO Reserve Force Projects, responsible for co-ordinating the URTP roll-out, among others.
“Colonel Muller will be remembered at the Defence Reserves Division and throughout the SANDF for her significant contribution,” Andersen said.
Muller was named a member of the Reserve Force Council by Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula five years ago as liaison with the Reserve Force specifically as regards human resources. Military pensions was one aspect of her Council duties.
Among posts she held during her time in uniform were SSO Women in the SA Army, SSO HR Co-ordination at Army headquarters, SSO Ministerial Enquiries, Second in Command and Acting OC at the SA Army Women’s College and Chief Instructor at the George training facility.
Prior to donning uniform Muller practiced her high school teaching skills and when she left the full-time service she held three positions in the Gauteng provincial government while proudly being a Reserve Force member.