How To Join The Army In South Africa

Wednesday, 27 July, 2022 - 13:32
Gabriella Siebritz
Here's how you can join the South African Army.

The South African Army, which falls under the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) Reserves, defends South Africa from external military aggression. If you are considering a career in the South African Army, here is how you can join. 


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The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) Reserves is made up of four armed services, which include the South African Army, the South African Air Force, the South African Navy and the South African Military Health Service.  

The most common way to enter into the Reserves is through the Military Skills Development System (MSDS). The second way to join is through direct recruitment, but this is only applicable to people with special skills such as engineers, IT specialists, diesel mechanics, etc.

To join the army Reserves, you have to meet the following requirements: 

  1. Must be a South African citizen
  2. Must be medically, mentally and battle fit
  3. Must be between the ages of 18 and 26 years (the required age varies according to the category of training/service) when joining for the first time. This age restriction does not apply to applicants with professional or critical skill qualifications required.
  4. You must have the attributes and qualifications which are required for your training.
  5. You must be able to perform the service or duties attached to the post for which you apply.
  6. If you are employed, your employer must be willing to grant special leave for military activities within reasonable demands.
  7. You must have no criminal record.

The Military Skills Development System (MSDS) is a two-year voluntary service system that allows young South African citizens to serve in uniform.

Successful MSDS candidates will receive basic military training, specific mustering and functional training in the first year and be utilized or deployed internally or externally in the second year of the MSDS.

After the two years, you will either continue as part of the Reserve Force or receive a contract offer to join the Regular Force. 

To qualify for the MSDS programme, you have to meet the following requirements:

  1. Be a South African citizen only. (No dual citizenship)
  2. Grade 12 Applicants must be between the ages of 18 – 22 years
  3. Graduates and/or other Tertiary Qualification up to the age of 26 years
  4. Completed Grade 12 (with average of 50% or level 4; Mathematics and Science will be advantageous)
  5. Admission Point Score (APS) of 17 excluded Life Orientation
  6. Leadership potential
  7. Not to be area bound
  8. Have no criminal record or pending cases
  9. Comply with medical fitness requirements for the appointment within average height/weight ratio (minimum height for women is 148cm, for men its 155cm; minimum weight for women is 48kg, for men the minimum weight is 52kg.

A Reserve member may choose to serve in any of the following corps (given that they have the necessary requirements) and support functions:

  1. Air Defence Artillery
  2. Armour
  3. Artillery
  4. Engineer
  5. Infantry
  6. Intelligence
  7. Signal
  8. Support functions:
  9. Personnel
  10. Logistics
  11. Finance
  12. Training 

 

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