Military Skills Development System

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The Military Skills Development System is the entry-level recruitment programme of the South African National Defence Force. It provides entry-level recruits to the South African Army, Air Force, Navy and Medical Service. It has been running since 2003.[1]

The Programme[edit]

The programme is aimed at rejuvenating an aging defence force and ensuring the continuous flow of young and fit soldiers. The programme is also aimed at creating an increased state of military readiness, by enlarging the South African military reserves.[2]

Recruits enlist for an initial 2-year period, after which they will be considered for further service in the Permanent Force. Those who do not qualify will serve part-time in the Reserve Forces for a period of 5 years.

Outstanding recruits get selected and trained as leaders, either as non commissioned officer or candidate officers. If they complete the officers-formative training course candidate-officers are sent to the Military Academy in Saldanha for a minimum of 1 year.


The system has found it difficult to attract youth from minority population groups and university graduates[3]