South Africa is building a modern and responsible defence force and is on the hunt for “highly skilled individuals”, according to Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
Speaking at a Woman’s Day event at Mount Frere in the Eastern Cape, she said the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) “recently launched” a national careers and recruitment drive.
“Not only is it intended to reset relations with our communities but to expose our people to the military environment,” she said.
Explaining the rationale behind the latest recruitment drive, Mapisa-Nqakula said: “The days are gone when the defence force was the place to dump the worst in our society simply to gain physical training and be deployed to cause destruction.
“The military is a place for great innovation with the best technological advances where our best people should be employed.
“We want to harness this technological and skills base of the SANDF to enhance our ability to fulfil the mandate to safeguard our territorial integrity and support peace and development on our continent,” she said during her speech at Mount Arthur Girls High School.
Part of this recruitment drive will see an outreach programme on August 23 at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth.
She did not elaborate on what specific type of recruitment would be on offer but the venue indicates it will probably be the SANDF Reserve Force’s University Reserve Training Programme (UTRP) aimed specifically at university students wanting to contribute scarce skills to the national military machine.
The other general avenue available to join the SANDF currently is via the two year volunteer military skills development programme. Successful volunteers do full basic military training after which they are assigned to specific units for further training. On completion on their two year service period they can be offered a longer term contract in the SANDF full-time component or become Reserve Force members called up at regular intervals.
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.