How to join the South African National Defense Force (SANDF) reserves | Western Cape Government

How to join the South African National Defense Force (SANDF) reserves

The South African National Defence Force Reserves is a voluntary and part-time directorate of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). The reserves provide guidance, assistance and expertise to our armed forces, and they'll respond to crises that arise.

The Reserves

Why you should join the reserves?

Joining the reserves gives you the opportunity to serve your country, and a chance to provide humanitarian assistance to those in need in time of natural or other disasters. Your expertise can help improve our country’s defensive needs, and being a reserve gives you the opportunity to travel abroad. You'll also have the opportunity to grow professionally and learn new skills.

The role of the reserves

The role of the Reserves is to:

  • Supplement the regulars in ongoing operations and activities of the Defence Force.
  • Form part of both the standing and surge military force design.
  • Provide the expansion capability of the Defence Force for major combat operations and crisis response.
  • Provide certain specialist and scarce skills to the Defence Force.
  • Provide the main specialist capabilities for reconstruction and development.
  • Enhance the relationship between Defence and the Public and Private sectors.

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

  • Air Defence Artillery
  • Armour
  • Artillery
  • Engineer
  • Infantry
  • Intelligence
  • Signal
  • Support functions:
  • Personnel
  • Logistics
  • Finance
  • Training

A serving member of the reserves receives all the benefits that are applicable to Regular Force members. These include:

  • A salary,
  • medical aid, and
  • access to SANDF facilities.

The Reserves

How to join the Reserve Force

There are two ways you can join the South Africa Reserve Force Division, either through the Military Skills Development System (MSDS) or through direct recruitment.

  • The MSDS is a Department of Defence programme that serves as the entry-level platform for young South Africans who want to follow a career in the South African National Defence Force. If you're selected to join the South African National Defence Force through the MSDS, you'll undergo an initial period of 2 years voluntary service. After your initial 2 years of service you'll be offered a 5 year contract to join the reserves which can be renewed until the age of 65.
  • Direct recruitment is only applicable to people with special skills such as engineers, IT specialists, diesel mechanics etc.

Requirements to join the reserves

If you would like to join the army reserves, you have to meet the following requirements:

  • A South African citizen.
  • Medically, mentally and battle fit.
  • 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.
  • You must have the attributes and qualifications which are required for your training.
  • You must be able to perform the service or duties attached to the post for which you apply.
  • If you are employed, your employer must be willing to grant special leave for military activities within reasonable demands.
  • Have no criminal record.

Training is provided to new recruits but due to the nature of the system, longer courses are presented in shorter flexible modules.

Other corps may require you to have existing qualifications in that specific field. For example, to join the Air Force Reserves an applicant must have aviation related expertise.

Where can you join?

For more information about joining the reserves you can contact SANDF’s Western Cape regional office at 021 787 1162 defres@telkomsa.net.

The content on this page was last updated on 7 May 2019