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The White Paper on Defence and the Defence Review require that the SANDF consist of a relatively small Regular Force and optimally larger Reserve Force. This principle follows the international trend of most modern defence forces. Accordingly the Defence Strategy was adjusted to incorporate this thinking pattern that is aptly amplified in its human resources systems.

The Military Skills Development System (MSDS) forms part of the New SANDF Service System and is the first career element of a three-system process. The Core Service System (CSS) and the Senior Career System (SCS) make up the remaining elements of this new employment initiative.

The basic principles of the MSDS comprises of four major elements:

  • It provides for an initial two-year employment contract with the option of further employment in the CSS.

  • It provides for a further five-year Reserve Force contract on completion of the initial two years.

  • It aims to provide for accreditation of military and enablement skills obtained during the initial two years of full time employment.

  • It must provide for the rejuvenation of the defence with young and fit operationally deployable personnel.

The generic MSDS model requires that initial military and specialist training be conducted during the first employment year, while the second year is devoted to the operational deployment of these young and fit men and women. Hence, when considering the possible recruitment of individuals from the community, the profile of the ideal individual candidate will fall within the following parameters:

  • The candidate will have at least a Grade 12/Matric education.

  • The candidate will not be area bound and can be deployed nationally and internationally.

  • The candidate will be between the ages of 18 to 22 years of age. (Graduates and specialist services such a Divers, Pilots and Artisans can be 26 years of age to be considered for recruitment).

  • The candidate must preferably be single due to the deployment and transfer needs of the Defence.

  • The candidate must be medically fit (G1K1N1) in order to be operationally deployable.

  • The candidate must be able to adapt and comply with military culture.

  • The candidate may not have a criminal record.

Because the Defence Force is a department of the State, the acts and regulations governing affirmative action (AA) and equal opportunities (EO) are strictly applied during the recruitment of potential candidates.

In the Navy, the training and utilisation of MSDS members have been planned to meet the unique requirements of Fleet. MSDS members in the Navy are known as "Naval Gymnasium Recruits" and receive their initial training at the SAS SALDANHA Naval Gymnasium. All Gymnasium Recruits will during the two-year period be required to serve at sea. Hence, the initial year of training is focussed on naval specific skills such as seamanship, naval customs and traditions and the ever-present military requirement of drill practice. The latter enhances the skills and discipline required from every sailor.

The first year is also dedicated to the selection of potential officer candidates, support divers, technical operators and the allocation of occupations to each individual. Not every member can be become a diver or officer or technical operator. For the selection of these professions, specific psychometric tests and physical evaluations are conducted to screen for competencies. The final selection process requires the veto from a board who will base their decisions on the result of the competency evaluations, available posts for that profession and on the intended target ratios earmarked for AA and EO. This same selection criterion, with the exception of the psychometric and physical evaluations, is also applied to the allocation of naval occupations to the remaining Gymnasium Recruits.

The second year of employment is focussed on specific occupational training and utilisation of the members who will ideally serve at sea in this year. Successful officer candidates receive training at the Military Academy or at other tertiary institutions, while technical operators and support divers continue with advanced training.

Towards the end of this second year, a final selection process takes place. The aim of this selection is to identify members for possible recruitment into the CSS or to the Reserve Force. Consideration for further employment or for selection to the Reserves, is stringent and the following evaluative elements are applied:

  • There must be a vacant post (rank and mustering) into which a member can be placed.

  • The member must be medically fit (G1K1N1), have successfully passed all military and occupational courses, have a clean disciplinary record and must have performed well at work during the two-year period.

  • The elements of AA and EO are applied.

Successful members are then either recruited for the CSS with initial employment contracts ranging from 2 to 5 years or are allocated to the Reserve Force.





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revision date: Thursday, January 11, 2018
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