Successful URTP recruitment drive in KZN


That there is a willingness among sectors of South Africa’s youth to serve comes from the latest round of recruitment by the Reserve Force for its University Reserve Training Programme (URTP) in KwaZulu-Natal.

Last month a team of recruiters representing the Army and Military Health Services visited three tertiary education campuses in the east coast province and returned to Pretoria with 1 610 signed up volunteers. Sadly there are currently only 200 slots available in the URTP in these two arms of service for the current financial year but there are indications the maritime arm of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) is keen on taking at least some of these volunteers on.

Reserve Force recruiters called on the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the University of Zululand and the Durban University of Technology seeking specialists to become officers in the part-time force.

Since it commenced in 2011 the URTP has been rolled out at 14 campuses in six of the nine provinces. The emphasis during recruitment is on scarce skills, a point highlighted by Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula during visits last year to Eastern Cape and North West universities.

Speaking at the Mafikeng campus of the University of North West she said there was “an ongoing need to rejuvenate the SANDF and bring in much-needed expertise into different musterings”.

This included various engineering disciplines, medical research, technology development, the nautical sciences, aerospace and avionics.
“We are keen to recruit people in scientific and technical fields to ensure our army, air force, navy and medical service have people qualified to assist in making the SANDF a national asset of the highest standard,” she said.

The 200 who were selected in KwaZulu-Natal will now undergo basic military training (BMT) in blocks timed to coincide with university vacations. On successful completion of this phase they become candidate officers and move onto officer formative training.