Details of South African Army Reserves

By | October 19, 2017

Details of South African Army Reserves



Chief Directorate SA Army Reserves is a specialist advisor to Chief of the SA Army and his staff in all reserve related issues.


To give specialist advice to Chief of the SA Army and his staff in all reserve related issues thereby ensuring that the SA Army trains and prepares a sustainable and deployable reserve.

SA Army Reserves Structure

Contact Us

Telephone: 27 12 355 1438 or 27 12 355 2129 or 27 12 355 2438 or 27 12 355 1519

Chief Directorate SA Army Reserves
Private Bag X981
South Africa

SA Army Reserves

The Reserves system of the South African Army is voluntary and part-time. The system therefore requires that someone who joint it must do so on a voluntary basis. To put the system into perspective, commonly asked questions will be addressed herein.

Why Reserves? Both the White Paper on Defence and the Defence Review state that “The SA National Defence Force will comprise a sufficiently large Reserves system and a small Regular Force”. On the basis of this Government imperative, the SA Army is made out of these two components. Furthermore the growing need of the SA National Defence Force to participate in the Defence of the country as well as Peace Support Operation requires that:

  • Strong, coherent and sustainable Reserves be trained and prepared to participate in any mission on its own or alongside the Regular Force.
  • Reserves be trained and prepared to assist the Regular Force in defending the country and its citizens against any type of aggression internal or external.
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Who May Join the Reserves? Any Military Skills Development System (MSDS) member, after the completion of the 2 years contract in the Regular Force of any person with the required specialist skills may volunteer join the Reserves provided that he/she:

  • Medically, mentally and battle fit.
  • Is at least 18 years and not older than 60 years in case of SA Army Conventional Reserve.
  • Has a record of good conduct.
  • Is prepared to serve on a voluntary basis.
  • Is prepared to undergo training as prescribed.
  • Has at least a matric/grade 12.

How to Join the Reserves? There are currently two methods through which one can join the Reserves.  It can be done through the Military Skills Development System (MSDS) or direct recruitment. Details of the two methods are as follows:

  • Joining the Reserves Through the MSDS. This system requires one to first complete a two year contract in the Regular Force where after one will required to voluntarily sign a five years contract with the Reserves which can be extended until the age of 65 years.
  • Direct Recruitment. This method is only applicable to people with special skills (eg Motor and Diesel Mechanics, IT specialists, Chefs etc).

What Type of Training are Reserve Members Expected to Undergo? Members of the Reserves receive similar training as their counter-parts (Regulars) but due to the nature of the system, longer courses are modularised.

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How Does One Serve in the Reserves? A need to serve is determined by the Organisation. Once such a need exists, the organisation will call-up a member of the Reserves to come and serve for a specific time period determined by the length of the mission. There are two conditions for calling up a Reserve member:

  • Continuous Basis. This call-up includes weekend and public holidays.
  • Non-Continuous Basis. The call-up excludes weekend and public holidays.

What are the Benefits of Serving in the Reserves?

  • It is an opportunity to make a contribution to the safety of the Republic of South Africa.
  • It helps develop your leadership and management skills to their full potential.
  • It helps on to fulfill her or his sense of adventure.
  • It provides one with an opportunity to experience the benefit of a military life.

In Which Corps Can a Reserve Member Serve? A Reserve member may choose to serve in any of the following corps and support functions:

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

What are the Service Benefits Available to the Reserve Members? Serving members of the Reserves are entitled to all benefits that are applicable to Regular Force members. These benefits include:

  • Remuneration (Salary)
  • Medical Benefits
  • Uniform
  • Leave
  • Access to all SA National Defence Sports and Recreation Facilities.