The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) and its governing entity, the Department of Defence (DoD), reported an overall vacancy rate of just over 11% or 10 034 posts in the 2013/14 financial year.
As far as arms of service staffing levels are concerned, the landward force (SA Army) still remains the single largest component of the SANDF with 40 121 people in its ranks. For it to be at optimal manpower strength as per the current force structure, landward defence was 2 085 short of the 44 224 posts set.
Air Defence – the SA Air Force (SAAF) – is the second largest service with a personnel complement of 10 815. This is more than 16% short of the force structure post number of 12 900.
The Navy, traditionally the smallest in people terms of the three fighting arms of service, was more than six percent overstaffed with 7 702 posts filled. Force structure sets maritime defence personnel at 7 213 for the 2013/14 year.
The SA Military Health Services (SAMHS), responsible for the healthcare of serving SANDF members and their families as well as for an ever-increasing number of military veterans and their dependents, was 15% understaffed during the period under review. Eight thousand three hundred and eighty posts of a set 9 922 were filled.
The remaining employment sectors published in the DoD annual report were all well under the personnel numbers prescribed by the force structure. They are Defence Administration (3 963, 18.6% short), Defence Intelligence (879, 21.8% short), General Support (4 878, 19.4% short) and Force Employment (1 969, 18.9% short).
The overall staffing level of 78 707 was against the 88 741 posts available, the report states. By far the majority of these posts were in the highly skilled production and supervision salary bands totalling 10 525 vacancies. On the opposite side of the ledger the DoD/SANDF managed to beat its own target for skilled members with 37 112 employed against a set total of 32 681.
The report lists nine “critical occupation” positions. With the exception of artillery (more than nine percent above force structure numbers), nursing (more than five percent above force structure) and anti-aircraft (0.21% above force structure) all other critical vacancies remain understaffed. They are air space control (1.8%), aircrew (19.7%), combat Navy (13.07%), engineer (31.28%), medical professional (13.73%) and technical (16.84%).
A total of 3 280 people left the DoD/SANDF during the year under review and not, as the report states “March 31, 2013”. Contract expiry accounted for 34.3% of those with retirement (19.7%) and resignation (18.6%) accounting for the next highest number of leavers.
Two hundred and twelve members were dismissed for misconduct, up from 198 in the previous financial year.