New regulations for the Reserve Force, an integral component of the South African military’s “one force” concept, have been published and set out requirements for and benefits of volunteering.
These include access to military medical care and insurance as well as payment of bonuses for service. Reserve Force soldiers are eligible for a volunteer service bonus once they have completed 12 days service in a 12 month period. The exact amount of the bonus is not mentioned in the new regulations apart from stating it is calculated in accordance with SA National Defence Force regulations.
The regulations also specify continuous and non-continuous utilisation. Continuous service is set down as “longer than a day and which is reckoned in days for as long as the member continues to be in service without a break” while non-continuous is measured in hours.
There are three utilisation categories which ensure manpower is always available for Reserve Force units when called up for deployment, either in-country or continentally.
Category A goes to a maximum of 180 days a year and can be made up of either continuous or non-continuous service with Category B being a year (365 days) continuous service and Category C going up to a maximum of three years continuous service.
The regulations make it clear “the actual period of utilisation will be in accordance with a call-up order issued for each period of utilisation”.
Reserve Force members are not allowed, unlike the country’s full-time airmen, military medics, sailors and soldiers, to be members of military trade unions.
“Members shall not join or engage in the activities of any military trade union or organisation affiliated to a military trade union. Members may not participate in peaceful and unarmed assembly, demonstration, picket and petition in support of a strike or secondary strike if this is related to any Defence matter,” according to the Conditions of Service.
Part-time soldiers are also not allowed to be politically partisan or express any party political allegiance in the performance of their duties and functions.