List of South African military chiefs

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South African military chiefs

The following is a list of South African military chiefs. From 1958 until the first post-apartheid election in 1994, the present-day South African National Defence Force was known as the South African Defence Force. From 1912 to 1958, the military was known as the Union Defence Force.

Head of the Defence Force[edit]

The Defence Force consists of the South African Army, South African Air Force, South African Navy, and South African Medical Service (which was renamed South African Military Health Service in 1998). The Chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is the senior military commander and the chiefs of the four services, in addition to the chiefs of Joint Operations, Defence Intelligence, and Corporate Staff, report to him. As of July 2012 the Chief of the SANDF is Gen. Solly Shoke SBS MMS.

Chief of the Union Defence Force[edit]

The Union Defence Force (UDF) consisted initially of land forces. An aviation corps was formed in 1915 and replaced by the South African Air Force in 1920. A naval branch was added in 1922, and the South African Division of the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve was incorporated into it in 1942.

In 1951, the defence forces were reorganised into three distinct combat services: the South African Army, the South African Air Force, and the South African Navy. The organisation was renamed "South African Defence Force" in 1958.

The UDF had no overall commander for the first nine and a half years. From January 1922, the Chief of the General Staff, previously responsible only for the Defence Headquarters staff, was the executive commander of the UDF. The title was changed to 'Commandant General UDF' in September 1956.

Name Start of term End of term
Maj Gen Andries Brink DTD DSO 1 October 1922 1 May 1933
Gen Sir Pierre van Ryneveld KBE CB DSO MC 2 May 1933[1] 1 May 1949
Lt Gen Leonard Beyers 2 May 1949 15 March 1950
Lt Gen Christiaan du Toit DSO 16 March 1950 22 September 1956
Gen Hendrik Klopper DSO 23 September 1956 24 September 1958
Gen Stephen Melville SSA OBE 25 September 1958 31 October 1958

Chief of the SADF[edit]

The UDF was renamed 'South African Defence Force' in November 1958.[2] The Commandant General's title was then changed to 'Commandant General SADF'. It was changed to 'Chief of the SADF' in July 1973, after Admiral Hugo Biermann assumed the post the year before. After South Africa's first democratic elections the South African Defence Force became the South African National Defence Force.

Name Start of term End of term
Gen Stephen Melville SSA OBE 1 November 1958 31 December 1960
Gen Pieter Grobbelaar SSA DSO 1 January 1961 30 December 1965
Gen Rudolph Hiemstra SSA SM 1 January 1966 31 March 1972
Adm Hugo Biermann SSA SD OBE 1 April 1972 31 August 1976
Gen Magnus Malan SSA SD SM 1 September 1976 6 October 1980
Gen Constand Viljoen SSA SD SOE SM 7 October 1980 30 October 1985
Gen Johannes Geldenhuys SSA SD SOE SM 1 November 1985 31 October 1990
Gen Andreas Liebenberg SSA SD SOE SM MMM 1 November 1990 31 October 1993
Gen Georg Lodewyk Meiring SSAS SD SM MMM 1 November 1993 30 April 1994

Chief of the SANDF[edit]

The SADF amalgamated with the Azanian People's Liberation Army, Umkhonto we Sizwe, and the homeland defence forces to form the South African National Defence Force in 1994. The SANDF was based on the existing SADF structure of South African Army, South African Air Force, South African Navy, and South African Medical Service (which was renamed South African Military Health Service in 1998).

Name Start of Term End of Term
Gen Georg Lodewyk Meiring SSA SD SM MMM 27 April 1994 31 May 1998
Gen Siphiwe Nyanda SSA SBS CSL DMG MMS MMM 1 June 1998 31 May 2005
Gen Godfrey Ngwenya MMS 1 June 2005 1 May 2011
Gen Solly Shoke SBS MMS 2 May 2011 Incumbent

Chief of the Army[edit]

The Chief of the South African Army is the professional head of the Army. There was no separate army commander until 1948. The post was called 'Director-General of Land Forces'[3] 1948–51 and 'Army Chief of Staff' 1951–66, and has been 'Chief of the Army since 1966.

Name Start of term End of term
Brig Christiaan du Toit DSO 10 November 1948 15 March 1950[3]
Brig Hendrik Klopper DSO 16 March 1950 30 April 1953
Maj Gen Pieter Grobbelaar DSO 1 May 1953 24 September 1958
Maj Gen Nick Bierman CBE 25 September 1958 31 October 1959
Maj Gen Sybrand Engelbrecht SM 1 November 1959 3 March 1963
Maj Gen Petrus Jacobs SSA SM 4 March 1963 31 December 1965
Lt Gen Charles 'Pop' Fraser SSA SM 1 October 1966 30 November 1967
Lt Gen Willem Louw SM 1 December 1967 30 June 1973
Lt Gen Magnus Malan SSA SM 1 July 1973 31 August 1976
Lt Gen Constand Viljoen SSA SM 1 September 1976 6 October 1980
Lt Gen Johannes Geldenhuys SSA SD SM 7 October 1980 30 October 1985
Lt Gen Andreas Liebenberg SSAS SD 1 November 1985 28 February 1990
Lt Gen Georg Meiring SSAS SD SM MMM 1 March 1990 31 October 1993
Lt Gen Hattingh Pretorius SD SM MMM 1 November 1993 31 December 1994
Lt Gen Reginald Otto SD SM MMM 1 January 1995 30 June 1998
Lt Gen Gilbert Ramano SSAS SD MMS MMM MMB 1 July 1998 31 May 2004
Lt Gen Solly Shoke SBS MMS 1 June 2004 1 May 2011
Lt Gen Vusumuzi Masondo MMM 1 October 2011[4] Incumbent

Chief of the Air Force[edit]

The Chief of the South African Air Force is the professional head of the Air Force. The post was called 'Director of Air Services' 1920–33, 'Director of Air & Technical Services' 1937–39, 'Director-General of Air Services' 1939–41, 'Director-General of the Air Force' 1941–51, and 'Air Chief of Staff' 1951–66, and has been 'Chief of the Air Force' since 1966.

Name Start of term End of term
Col Sir Pierre van Ryneveld KBE DSO MC 1 February 1920 30 September 1937[5]
Col Francis Hoare CBE 1 October 1937 31 October 1937
Lt Col Hector Daniel MC AFC 1 November 1937 12 September 1939
Col John Holthouse OBE 13 September 1939 30 September 1940
Maj Gen Christoffel Venter CB DFC 1 October 1940 16 October 1945
Brig Harold Willmott CBE 17 October 1945 10 September 1946
Brig James 'Jimmy' Durrant CB DFC 1 October 1946 30 June 1951
Brig Harold Willmott CBE 1 July 1951 24 August 1954
Brig Stephen Melville OBE 25 August 1954 22 September 1956
Maj Gen Barend Viljoen SSA OBE 23 September 1956 30 April 1965
Lt Gen Henry "Kalfie" Martin SM CBE DFC 1 May 1965 30 November 1967
Lt Gen Jacobus Verster SSA SM 1 December 1967 28 February 1975
Lt Gen Robert 'Bob' Rogers SSA SM DSO DFC 1 March 1975 30 November 1979
Lt Gen Michal Muller SSAS SD 1 December 1979 29 February 1984
Lt Gen Denis Earp SSA SD SM 1 March 1984 30 June 1988
Lt Gen Jan van Loggerenberg SSAS SD SOE 1 July 1988 31 October 1991
Lt Gen James Kriel SSAS SD SM MMM 1 November 1991 30 April 1996
Lt Gen Willem Hechter SSAS 1 May 1996 29 February 2000[5]
Lt Gen Roelf Beukes SD SM MMM 1 March 2000 28 February 2005
Lt Gen Carlo Gagiano SM MMM 1 March 2005 30 September 2012
Lt Gen Fabian Msimang 1 October 2012 Incumbent

Chief of the Navy[edit]

The Chief of the South African Navy is the professional head of the Navy. The post was called 'Officer Commanding South African Naval Service' 1922–32, 'Director, Seaward Defence Force' 1940–42, 'Director, South African Naval Forces' 1942–51, 'Naval & Marine Chief of Staff' 1951–55, and 'Naval Chief of Staff' 1955–66, and has been 'Chief of the Navy' since 1966.

Name Start of term End of term
Cdr Norman Rankin (1922–1928) 1 April 1922 3 June 1928
Cdr Robert F.U.P. Fitzgerald (1928–1932) 4 June 1928 4 November 1932
Vacant – the navy disposed of its ships and reduced personnel to a few administrative staff 1933 1939
R Adm Guy Hallifax CMG (1940–1941) 16 September 1939 28 March 1941
Cdre James Dalgleish CBE (1941–1946) 21 March 1941 30 November 1946
Cdre Frederick Dean OBE (1946–1951) 1 December 1946 30 June 1951
Brig Pieter de Waal CB CBE (1951–1952) 1 July 1951 30 November 1952
V Adm Hugo H Biermann SSA SD OBE 1 December 1952 31 March 1972
V Adm James 'Flam' Johnson SSA SM DSC 1 April 1972 30 September 1977
V Adm J Charl Walters SD SM 1 October 1977 30 January 1980
V Adm Ronald A Edwards SSAS SM 1 February 1980 30 September 1982
V Adm Andries P "Dries" Putter SSAS 1 October 1982 30 June 1985
V Adm Glen Syndercombe SSAS SD SM 1 July 1985 31 March 1989
V Adm Andries P "Dries" Putter SSAS SD MMM 1 April 1989 30 June 1990
V Adm Lambert J “Woody” Woodburne DVR SD SM 1 July 1990 31 August 1992
V Adm Robert Claude Simpson-Anderson SSAS SD SM MMM 1 September 1992 31 October 2000
V Adm Johan Retief SD SM MMM 1 November 2000 28 February 2005
V Adm Refiloe Johannes Mudimu DMG SM MMS MMM 1 March 2005 31 March 2014[6]
V Adm Samuel Hlongwane 1 April 2014 Incumbent

Surgeon General[edit]

The Surgeon General is the Chief of the South African Military Health Service, which was known as the South African Medical Service before 1994.

Name Start of term End of term
Maj Gen Eugene Raymond SSA SM 1 February 1960 31 March 1969
Lt Gen Colin Cockcroft SSA SM 1 April 1969 31 October 1977
Lt Gen Nicolaas Nieuwoudt SSA SD SM 1 November 1977 29 February 1988
Lt Gen Daniel Knobel SSAS SD SOE SM MMM 1 March 1988 30 November 1997
Lt Gen Davidson Masuku SSAS MMM 1 December 1997 30 September 2000
Lt Gen Jurinus Janse van Rensburg SD SM MMM 1 October 2000 31 July 2005
Lt Gen Vejaynand Ramlakan DMG MMS MMB 1 August 2005 31 March 2013
Lt Gen Aubrey Sedibe 1 April 2013 Incumbent

Chief of Joint Operations[edit]

Name Start of term End of term
Lt Gen Deon Ferreira PVD SD SM MMM 1 August 1997 31 December 2000
Lt Gen Godfrey Ngwenya MMS 1 January 2000 31 May 2005
Lt Gen Sipho Binda 1 June 2005 14 November 2006
Lt Gen Themba Matanzima September 2007 30 September 2011
Lt Gen Derrick Mgwebi 1 October 2011[4] Incumbent

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ellis, Johan (2000). "Oswald Pirow's Five-Year Plan for the Reorganisation of the Union Defence Force, 1933-193". South African Journal of Military Studies 30 (2). 
  2. ^ http://www.dod.mil.za/documents/acts/defence%20act44of1957.pdf
  3. ^ a b Lillie, A.C. (1982). "THE ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN ARMY". South African Journal of Military Studies 12 (2). 
  4. ^ a b http://www.dod.mil.za/news/news%202011/September2011/springbok.htm
  5. ^ a b "Fact file: Chiefs of the SA Air Force". DefenceWeb.co.za. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  6. ^ Helfrich, Kim. "Hlongwane named new Navy Chief". Defenceweb. Retrieved January 23, 2014.