SA Army first off the mark with MSD selection

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With Military Skills Development (MSD) applications for the 2025 intake closed, the SA Army is first off the mark to select suitable recruits.

This saw South Africa’s unofficial military capital, Thaba Tshwane in the Gauteng province, host a selection process to ensure the best and brightest make it to final recruitment for the upcoming year’s intake.

Young men and women last month (April) reported to the Personnel Service School where insight was provided on the musterings that make up the landward force. This saw, apart from interviews and medical assessments, the prospective soldiers finding out what various divisions and formations are and do. Among those which provided insights were the Artillery Corps, Air Defence Corps, Infantry Corps, Intelligence Corps, Signal Corps, and Support Division, alongside the Military Police and Defence Intelligence.

Reporting on the selection information session, Private Letlhogonolo Moilwa wrote for the SANDF: “The Army’s annual recruitment process, characterised by its rigorous standards, is driven by the conviction that the youth possess the requisite qualities to rejuvenate and innovate the Army, thereby contributing significantly to its continued excellence”.

The SANDF annually recruits around three thousand volunteers for the two-year MSD training period. On completion a small number of recruits are offered short term contacts with the remainder expected to utilise their military skills in the Reserve Force.

In January, 2 634 successful recruits reported for basic military training (BMT) at SA Air Force (SAAF), SA Army, SA Navy (SAN) and SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) bases. On completion of BMT they will undergo mustering specific training and be allocated to specific units for the duration of their two-year service period.

More than 180 000 MSD applications were received by the Department of Defence (DoD) Human Resources Division for this year’s intake.

MSD started in 2003 as an SANDF contribution to the National Development Plan (NDP) specifically as regards training young men and women. Initially there were two intakes of around five thousand a year dropping to the two thousand mark annually with a diminishing defence budget blamed.

Due to budget cuts, the Military Skills Development intake was only scheduled to take place every two years, with no fresh MSD recruits reporting for duty in 2023. (1 997 recruits reported for duty at the beginning of 2022).

It seems that recruitment is back to an annual basis, as the SANDF in February advertised applications for the 2025 intake, with a closing date of 15 March.