Mapisa-Nqakula striving to retain leadership and technical skills


Changes planned for the human component of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) announced by defence Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula in her budget vote last week will see the retention of leadership experience and technical skills.

“In the medium to long term I intend to utilise the policy that allows the Minister to approve the extension of service of certain defence personnel past their designated retirement date to retain the experience and skills we require at leadership and technical levels,” she told Parliament.

Mapisa-Nqakula also admitted there was an “urgent need” for recruitment of younger soldiers with proper career management and succession planning. “The new human resource strategy should provide for a military career model ensuring the SANDF is appropriately staffed in support of unique military requirements. It will also ensure a new profile soldier in the SANDF,” she said.

As fair as keeping specialist musterings in uniform, Mapisa-Nqakula said measures have to be developed to retain technical and specialist personnel “including conditions of services and benefits aligned with market trends”.

Her recommendations are in line with those of the Defence Review but she did not go as far as to outline a reduction in personnel numbers across the four arms of service.

The retention of scarce and specialist skills will see SANDF members who no longer conform to post or mustering requirements moved into other government departments or agencies, in the Justice, Peace and Security Cabinet cluster. This is also in line with recommendations in the Defence Review.

On the future leaders of the SANDF Mapisa-Nqakula said the challenge was to establish the correct foundation to develop these soldiers.
“This means we must have the right quality and correct number of young leaders emerging as corporals and lieutenants in the new few years. They must be developed as the strategic leadership that must be in place 20 years from now.
“As part of this the DoD will need to establish its own fully fledged Defence Academy in the long term. Such as academy must have sufficient inherent capacity to ensure the SANDF officer requirements for both the Regulars and the Reserves are met,” she told Parliament.

At present there are just under 78 000 personnel serving with the Department of Defence and Military Veterans.

Briefing the Parliamentary defence portfolio committee in early July, defence secretary Sam Gulube warned that a R1.1 billion (€75 million) salary budget shortfall would affect personnel – the SANDF cannot fill 4 000 posts due to insufficient funding – and the military was looking to cut employee numbers.