Fact file: The SA Engineering Corps


The engineers are an ancient branch, the name deriving from the operators of the engines used during siege warfare, and later, the title of the master of military works and his staff. The engineers were often the first users of a new technology that later became the prime mission equipment of a new, specialist, branch, one example being the cannon. The civilian fire brigade was also born from this corps.

Pic: A Ratel ICV on a 35 Engineer Support Regiment floating bridge at a demonstration near Nigel, eastern Gauteng, in March 2006.

  • Mission: “To enhance mobility and survivability of own forces.” The SAEC’s primary role is to provide “engineer solutions on the battlefield”, while its vision is to be a “combat ready integrated military system supporting the landward defence strategy.”

    The corps mandate is “to prepare and provide engineer capabilities fully supported to the 1st and 2nd lines and uniquely to the 4th line, to be integrated into the landward defence capability for the defence and protection of the Republic of South Africa.” Engineers have two primary tasks: enhancing own forces mobility while disrupting that of the enemy. In addition to these, engineers provide troops in the field shelter and amenities and commanders critical geospatial information in the form of maps. A SA Army recruiting pamphlet noted that engineers help “the Army to move, to fight and to survive. The SA Army Engineer Corps system consists of the Combat Engineer, Engineer Intelligence (which includes terrain intelligence, surveying, cartography and printing), operational construction as well as engineer logistics components. The corps is responsible for engineer support to all types of forces during all types of operations and under all circumstances.”


  • Corps colours: Guardsman Red (BCC49) and Oxford Blue (BSI105).


  • Beret colour: Oxford blue


  • Collar badge: Bursting grenade with nine flames


  • Motto: Ubique (Everywhere); Primus incidere exire ultimus (First in and last out)


  • Brief history in SA: The SAEC came into being on February 1, 1922, although it can trace its roots to the Cape Volunteer Engineers, founded in 1859. The SAEC’s original insignia, the bursting grenade with seven flames, was taken from the Royal Engineers. In 1946 the number of flames was increased to nine in a Royal Charter, signed by George VI, in recognition for their service during World War Two.





All military engineers are assigned to the SA Army Engineer Formation under the charge of a General Officer Commanding (GOC).


The GOC answers directly to SA Army chief Lt Gen Solly Shoke. Assisting the GOC is a

  • Chief of Staff

  • Chaplain

  • Formation Warrant Officer

  • Personal Staff


The formation is structured as follows:

  • SA Army School of Engineers1

  • Field Engineers

    • 2 Field Engineer Regiment, Bethlehem

    • 3 Field Engineer Regiment, Cape Town

    • 6 Field Engineer Regiment

    • 19 Field Engineer Regiment, Durban

    • 44 Parachute Engineer Regiment, Pretoria

  • 14 Engineer Regiment

  • 35 Engineer Support Regiment, Dunottar, Nigel

  • 1 Construction Regiment, Dunottar, Nigel

  • 1 Military Printing Regiment, Pretoria

  • 4 Survey & Mapping Regiment


1 Units marked in BLUE are regular fulltime service and those in RED are Reserve Force