The South African National Defence Force, popularly known as SANDF, is made up of the country’s entire armed forces. The force is saddled with the responsibility of safeguarding the country’s borders among other things.
According to the 1993 Constitution of South Africa, the Force is saddled with the responsibility of defending the country against external and internal threats.
The force is made up of the following armed service branches; South African Navy (SA Navy), South African Army, South African Air force, as well as the South African Military Health Service. These services are coordinated by the Joint Operations Division, which also oversees the South African Special Forces Brigade.
The SANDF came from the South African Defence Force (SADF), which had been the country’s main security organization before 1994. This force began existing prior to the country’s independence in 1957.
As it was with the Apartheid government of the country, the SADF was composed of white South Africans, who were the only ones that could join. Others such as Asians and South Africans of mixed race could join in voluntary capacity. Blacks were mostly incorporated as volunteers into 32 Battalion.
The SADF was mostly used during the apartheid to quell opposition from South Africans against the apartheid government. It was also used during the South African border and Namibian independence conflicts, when it launched an attack in the Omugulugwombashe SWAPO guerilla force training camp.
Since it was a creation of the apartheid government, the SADF dissolved with the apartheid government in 1994, when the country adopted a new constitution with the first post apartheid election. This brought about the SANDF.
After its formation, the SANDF took over the equipments of the SADF as well as its personnel. It also brought in forces of the former Bantustan homeland forces. African National Congress’s guerilla force, Umkhonto we Sizwe, were also integrated into the force. Other guerillas that were integrated were the Pan Africanist Congress’s Azanian People’s Liberation Army after it was disbanded in 1994, and the Self-Protection Units of the Inkatha Freedom Party.
The new security force of the country became open to all South Africans that meet the necessary requirements as against the practice during the SADF which had the force only open to white South Africans.
The functions of the Force as stipulated, is strictly defending the country in times of war as well as fulfilling the treaty obligations of the country. It also serves to check internal disorder by preventing and suppressing it. Also, preserving life, health and property, as well as maintenance of essential services are part of its functions.
Some domestic operations it is involved in include safeguarding South Africa’s borders handled by the Operation CORONA; ensuring safety and security, handled by the Operation Prosper; providing disaster relief and assistance by Operation CHARIOT; and ensuring that illegal weapons, drugs, prostitution rings and other groups carrying out illegal activities are ridden off the country.
SANDF is as well involved in some international military activities. It takes part in United nations peacekeeping mission, which are mostly in other African countries.
The force has headquarters in Pretoria and Gauteng Its leadership has the president at the top as the Commander in Chief, followed by the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, then the Chief of the South African National Defence Force.
The force is different from the South African Police service. The two security bodies operate differently and they are controlled by different ministries,
Careers with the force are announced in SANDF News, on various media and are as well provided for on the website of the country’s Department of Defence.
Only young citizens of the country who are fit and healthy are employed by the Department of Defence. Those newly employed get to serve for a 2 year period to augment the Force’s deployment capability. At the expiring of the two-year term, most of each intake are moved to the National Defence Force and the rest are moved to the Reserve Force.
Those in the service are between 18 to 49 years old, and it is open to both male and female applicants.
There are as well civilian careers in the Department of Defence. It is here that applicants with physical disabilities can be employed.
SANDF Application forms are gotten on the Defence department’s website.