UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


South African Army

The army in the 1990s continued to rely on a small Permanent Force of professional soldiers and a large Citizen Force. The Citizen Force consists of volunteers serving an initial period of training and active duty, followed by several years of reserve status. Reservists rotate into active duty when called upon. Volunteers can apply to transfer from the Citizen Force to the Permanent Force if they wish to become professional, career soldiers.

The sweeping changes of the mid-1990s allowed varying assessments of the strength of the army. The government's South Africa Yearbook, 1995 indicated that roughly 95,000 active-duty members of the SADF and of the former homeland militaries, as well as about 27,000 former liberation fighters, made up the army in 1995. Many of the active-duty troops were in various stages of training or retraining for at least one year after that. After the integration of these forces into the SANDF was completed, officials planned to reduce army ranks, to a force of about 91,000 by the year 1998. Officials were also considering further reductions, perhaps to a force of about 75,000 active-duty troops, by the year 2000. The number of military reservists, in a wide variety of reserve duty statuses, was estimated at more than 360,000 in late 1995. The government's South Africa Yearbook, 1995 indicated that more than 500,000 troops were on part-time or reserve status.

In 1998 the South African Army announced deep cuts to get within its budget and within the requirements of the Defence Review. The Army has to be 50% black, and 30% female to comply with labour and equity legislation, while the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), of which the Army forms part, must downsize by about 20,000. Since the Army makes up the bulk of the SANDF (58,600 out of 82,400) the bulk of the soldiers that will be demobilised will come from that arm of Service. It's composition must be 34.15% ex-SADF, 24.48% civilian, 14.14% ex-MK (ANC military wing), 10.06% from former Bantustan armies, 5.5% ex-Apla (PAC military wing), 2.61% ex-IFP militia. The remaining 9.27% must consist of members who joined since April 1994.

The chief of the army, who holds the rank of lieutenant general, commands all army forces. He is assisted by his general staff at the army headquarters in Pretoria. He also is responsible for the Army Battle School at Lohatla in the Northern Cape, the Defence College (formerly the South African Military College) at Pretoria, and various corps schools, such as the Artillery School at Potchefstroom (North-West Province), the Infantry School at Oudtshoorn (Western Cape), and the Intelligence School at Kimberley.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 23-10-2012 19:12:49 ZULU