SAMHS MSD passing out parade


The 150 SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) military skills development (MSD) enlistees who made it from basic military training (BMT) to a passing out parade at the service’s Lephalale training centre are “unique South Africans”.

This description was applied to them by Surgeon General, Lieutenant General Peter Maphaha, who told the recruits they “elected to serve as defenders of the country, its people and resources” instead of finding “a normal job”.

“You accept to abide by the requirements of exceptional discipline, patriotism and extraordinary commitment to your country and all our people,” he told the passing out parade, adding that they answered the highest call to duty any citizen can ever take.

Maphaha pointed to the SANDF Code of Conduct which puts “honour at the highest level of the character of a soldier you must be” adding it was the contract between employer – the SANDF – and employee, in this instance medical corpsmen and women.

“You are obliged to fulfil its conditions without deviation,” he said adding: “there is no argument with the rules which is what makes the military, military”.

In closing, he told the newly minted SAMHS personnel they were now ambassadors for MSD. The system was developed and utilised to recruit physically, mentally and academically fit young South Africans to advance the most needed skills in the military. “When you are out there, dispel the perception that the military is joined by less academically fit young people,” the three-star said.

The 2022 MSD intake saw just on two thousand recruits report for duty in February with the majority – 1 350 – going to the SA Army. The SA Navy (SAN) ranks were boosted by 270 with the airborne service gaining 227 new recruits.

The MSD system is now in its 19th year and the 2022 intake will be the last annual one for at least the foreseeable future. Budget constraints will see future MSD intakes once every two years. During its first years there were two intakes a year with former defence minister Mosiuoa Lekota at one stage saying he would seek extra MSD funding from the Department of Education. This was an unsuccessful attempt to boost defence spend during his 1999/2008 term of office.

From twice-a-year intakes totalling around five thousand each, the MSD system this year saw 1 997 new recruits reporting for duty.