The contribution of South Africa’s part-time soldiers to the one force concept is well illustrated by current deployments with 13 000 Reserve Force personnel “in action” in operations Corona and Notlela.
Appreciation for the extensive utilisation in both nationally important deployments comes from Major General Roy Andersen, Chief Defence Reserves.
“The Notlela deployment is a new one for the Reserves and while they support police, as mandated in the operation order, Reserves are also busy with other important components of the overall Notlela deployment,” he said.
Among tasks Reserves are working on, some in conjunction with Regular Force units, are water purification, bridge building and water tank delivery, positioning and erection.
There are also Reserve Force personnel who donned overalls for their Notlela call-up to utilise the specific skills of diesel and motor mechanics keeping vehicles serviceable to ensure medical and other supplies reach destinations timeously.
Still more Reserve Force personnel are putting their medical expertise and training to good use while in uniform. Andersen said the ranks of the SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) were currently bolstered by “a good number” of civilian doctors, nurses and medical orderlies.
The employment of military personnel was made by President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Commander-in-Chief, in a 21 April letter to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV). It authorises the employment of 73 180 uniformed personnel from 2 April to 26 June. The letter gives the “revised expenditure to be incurred as R4 590 393 940”.
In addition to the Notlela deployment, Reserve Force soldiers are an integral part of the national border protection tasking, Operation Corona. This sees 15 companies patrolling South Africa’s land borders with Botswana, eSwatini, Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. At times up to seven Reserve Force units have contributed to this longstanding and ongoing tasking.