Military reserve students graduate


The search for quality recruits who can become leaders in the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) Reserve Force is bearing fruit, as evidenced by a passing out parade for university students at Fort iKapa in Cape Town earlier this month.

Ninety-four students from the University of the Western Cape, University of Cape Town and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology had the rule put over them by Brigadier General J S Mbuli, General Officer Commanding the SA Army Air Defence Artillery Formation.

One of those who successfully made it through the basic military training phase was Simankele Ntlombe, a Peninsula University of Technology biotechnology student. He said he had signed up for the Reserve Force University Reserve Training Programme (URTP) because of the order and discipline the military offered. The Butterworth, Eastern Cape, born Ntlombe is confident he can make it through the next stages of officer formative, functional and junior leader training to become a leader in the country’s voluntary military force.

He plans to study medicine and sees his specialist field of biotechnology as being a future value add to particularly the SA Military Health Service and the SANDF overall.

Those on parade took part in eight training modules presented over a seven month period at Fort iKapa, the Touws River training area and Simon’s Town under the watchful eye of Cape Garrison Artillery instructors. Training included drill, musketry, field craft, buddy aid, hand to hand combat, water orientation, mess etiquette, guard and sentry details, military law and labour relations.

With basic military training completed, the university students’ next encounter with the further training policy and practice of the SANDF will be officer formative training. Here they will, in a series of modules set up not to interfere with their academic pursuits, be equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to provide leadership to subordinates, often in complex situations such as those encountered in conflict or peacekeeping.

The final junior leader training stage will see those who make it undergo formation or unit specific training. For the Fort iKapa contingent this means either the infantry, armour, sappers, air defence artillery, artillery, signal or other specific military disciplines.