MILITARY SKILLS DEVELOPMENT SYSTEM
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
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
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
The candidate must be able to adapt and comply with military
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
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