South African Military Academy

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South African Military Academy
Motto Discendo Armemus
Established 1 April 1950 as South African Military College (now the South African Army College) in Thaba Tswane)
Type Military Academy
Dean Prof M. S Tshehla
Commandant Brig Gen Lawrence Mbatha (SA Army)
Academic staff 48
Students approx. 300 future officers of the four Arms of Service
Undergraduates Military Science (B.Mil) in Science & Technology, Human Resource Development, Security & Africa Studies and Defence Organization & Resource Management
Postgraduates Masters Degree in Military Science (M.Mil)
Location Saldanha, Western Cape, South Africa
Campus Malgaskop, overlooking Saldanha Bay
Affiliations Stellenbosch University

The South African Military Academy is based on similar principles as that of the Military Academy system of the United States (United States Military Academy United States Naval Academy United States Air Force Academy). The Academy is a military unit of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) housing the Faculty of Military Science of the University of Stellenbosch.

It prepares candidate officers and midshipmen of all the Arms of Service morally, mentally, and physically to be professional officers in the SANDF.


It is situated on the West Coast in the town of Saldanha, set against the scenic slopes of Malgaskop, overlooking Saldanha Bay.


About 300 men and women represent the four Arms of Service.


There are forty eight member of the Faculty of Military Science who are an integrated group of military and civilian lecturers. Brig Gen Lawrence Mbatha is the Commandant of the Military Academy and the Dean of the faculty is Prof Samuel Tshehla[1]


A Bachelor in Military Science (B. Mil) is awarded to students upon graduation in December. The B. Mil is the generic title for the degree which may be undertaken in three different fields, these being Natural Science (equivalent to B.Sc), Social Science (equivalent to BA) and Commercial Science (equivalent to B.Comm). Traditionally, Natural Science has been considered as the premiere degree due to its highly quantitative nature of its course contents (i.e. Mathematics, Physics). After graduation, they rejoin their Arm of Service to serve as officers. Post-graduate qualifications at masters and doctoral level are also offered.


The Academy was established on 1 April 1950 under the auspices of the University of Pretoria and the South African Military College[2] (now the South African Army College) in Voortrekkerhoogte (now Thaba Tswane), with the goal of elevating students to a BA (Mil) or BSc (Mil) degree to meet the intellectural challenges of modern war.[2]

In 1953 Frans Erasmus, wanting to establish the Military Academy as a separate, independent, all-service institution decided to relocate the Academy to Saldanha. In Pretoria it had catered for army and air force students only. It now full under the auspices of the University of Stellenbosch, who now awarded a B Mil degree to successful students.[2] The Military Academy was organisationally divorced from the South African Army College on 1 February 1956. Its headquarters temporarily shifted to Stellenbosch, while suitable accommodation was built at Saldanha. The headquarters of the Military Academy moved to Saldanha in December 1957 and in February 1958 the first students, second and third-years, reported at Saldanha.[2]

The South African Defence Force’s increasing involvement in Border War from the mid-1970s produced an increased demand for junior officers, with the result that the Defence Force decided that junior officers should be “task qualified” within their respective services before becoming eligible for admission to the Military Academy.[2] The degree course at the Military Academy was thus excluded from the development cycle of junior officers from 1976 and now admittance to the Academy became an option for those who wished to obtain a university degree.[2]

See also[edit]