Two top posts in the Reserve Force, one the most senior – that of Chief – remain vacant months after previous incumbents either retired or were reposted because new appointments “were not promulgated”.
The part-time component of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) is widely accepted as integral to application of the one force doctrine and the presence of a Chief: Reserves in and on top level defence councils is evidence of this.
Since June this has not happened following the retirement of Roy Andersen. His departure as Chief: Reserves coincided with former SANDF Chief Solly Shoke exiting the chief’s suite of offices at defence headquarters in the Armscor building.
The delay in filling the vacancy is problematic given that cost cutting actions planned for the human component of the national defence force presented to Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Defence (JSCD) in August include a significant decrease in the manday allocation for part-time soldiers and other musterings.
Rear Admiral Asiel Kubu, SANDF Director: Human Resources, told the JSCD the decrease in Reserve Force mandays was part of wide-ranging plans to decrease the national defence salary bill. Compensation of employees presently takes just on 60% of the total defence budget of R50 billion.
The officer heading SANDF personnel plans Reserve Force utilisation of 1.9 million mandays per year from the current level of over 2.6 million. The high utilisation of reserves was due mainly to Operation Notlela in support of national state of disaster regulations as per the standing Operation Prosper tasking for assisting government departments. This also saw reserves called up in the wake of July’s widespread violent civil unrest in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
The post of Chief: Army Reserves – the largest manpower contributor to the Reserve Force – is vacant and has been since April. That was when Brigadier General Gerhard Kamffer was appointed Director: Project Koba-Tlala.