Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University will tomorrow be the first stop on a SA National Defence Force (SANDF) national public education and recruitment drive spearheaded by Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
She launched the initiative during a Woman’s Day address at Mount Frere in the Eastern Cape where she said the drive would be aimed at women and youth from previously disadvantaged backgrounds.
“The SANDF National Careers Exhibition takes place at a time when the department (of defence) has recognised a critical need for the SANDF of the democratic era South Africa to re-introduce itself to our communities and reset relations to make a clear departure from the historical tensions that existed during the struggle for liberation,” her spokesman Sonwabo Mbananga said.
With the SANDF increasingly playing a role in regional and continental efforts to uphold the rule of law, assist in rebuilding countries affected by conflicts and providing training, peacekeeping, humanitarian relief and assisting with integration of statutory and non-statutory forces the military needs specialist skills, he said. These include medicine and various engineering and science disciplines.
“For these reasons government is engaging and encouraging young people across the country to further their education in these and other fields with the skills required to operationalise an organisation of a highly technical and technology driven nature such as a professional defence force and the defence industry at large,” Mbananga said.
The Minister will start the national careers exhibition by addressing students at Port Elizabeth’s university and engaging those attending. All four arms of service – the SA Air Force, SA Army, SA Military Health Services and the SA Navy – will have comprehensive displays of career opportunities with servicemen and women on hand to answer questions and provide further information.
Neither the SANDF nor the Reserve Force websites currently show any active recruiting measures.
The Ministerial utterances in Eastern Cape will be particularly welcomed by the SA Air Force (SAAF). Just three months ago the airborne arm of service said all recruitment initiatives, including for pilots and navigators, had been cancelled for the year.
The SAAF recruitment office could give no reason for the halt in recruitment processes to defenceWeb’s Cape Town correspondent in May. It would only say “internal problems” had contributed and there was a possibility selections for pupil pilots and navigators would recommence in 2014.