Workshop hears human resources is SANDF “engine”


Reducing personnel numbers in the national defence force to 73 000 was a dominant theme of a Department of Defence (DoD) Human Resource Division workshop which also heard predictable and sustained investment in the military was essential for “readiness and modernisation” to ensure it remained relevant.

Nick Sendall from the DoD Chief Directorate: Military Strategy is reported as making this observation by Tsholanang Zwane, Assistant Director, Human Resource Corporate Communication.

“We need to look at what kind of SA National Defence Force (SANDF) we need in future and what we can afford at this current moment,” Sendall told delegates to the workshop at Rhemardo in Limpopo.

“A common understanding is needed of the national strategic perspective on how defence is viewed. We all have a role to play in shaping the future of this organisation.

“A long term strategy requires seamless integration of multiple elements of national power — diplomacy, information, economics, finance, intelligence, law enforcement and the military.

“More than any other nation, South Africa and its national defence force can expand the competitive space, seizing the initiative to challenge competitors where we possess advantages and they lack strength. A more lethal force, strong alliances and partnerships, SANDF technological innovation and a culture of performance will generate decisive and sustained South African military advantages,” Sendall said.

The long-serving strategist, who currently reports to Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thandi Modise and Defence Secretary Gladys Kudjoe, delivered an as upbeat message as possible given the miserly treatment meted out to defence by National Treasury.

The workshop heard that budget cuts and the downsizing of the SANDF mean that military skills development (MSD) call-up is only happening every second year, while allowances are being capped and Reserve Force mandays are being reduced.

The officer heading the human resource component in the DoD, Vice Admiral Asiel Kubu, urged staff in his division to work harder as “human resources are the engine of the organisation”.