Army Chief wants an “Africanised” system for the Reserve Force

The man at the head of the SA Army, the largest component of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) and also the largest Reserve Force component, Lieutenant General Lindile Yam, wants to see a new Africanised Reserve Service System in place. This, he writes in the winter edition of The Reserve Force Volunteer, will ensure an appropriate and viable Reserve for the future. “It is clear that a classic western orientated Reserve Service System is not aligned to current socio-economic conditions in South Africa and does not capture the dynamics and aspirations of the youth of today. “Unfortunately, a reality in the Reserve component is that the vast majority of members are unemployed. This, however, does enable increased levels of utilisation and an ongoing sustainable contribution by the Reserves to protracted operations. “A clean slate analysis of this situation needs to be undertaken with a view to the development of management criteria and/or adjustment to the Reserve Service System as a whole. This new Reserve Service System must also be aligned with the new military strategy that will flow from the Defence Review 2015 implementation process.”

Yam also tells the country’s part-time soldiers they have “a major and significant role” in the SANDF and specifically the SA Army augmenting the Regulars and ensuring force levels are sustained for ordered operational commitments. “From my previous experience as the General Officer Commanding of the SA Army Infantry Formation, no one needs to remind me of the continued sustained pressure the Reserves endure during both internal and external operations. That the Reserves have been able to absorb these pressures can be attributed to the high level of commitment shown by the Reserve Officers Commanding and their leader group to remain true to their cause. I am proud of the fact that the Reserves are standing shoulder to shoulder with the Regulars in the defence of our country.” As an example of the dedication and courage shown by the Reserves, Yam names an SA Irish Regiment rifleman. “Francis Plaatjie now has serious permanent injuries sustained in a heroic stand he made in a fight against rebel forces with his 7.62 mm light machine gun in Darfur, Sudan. We should always acknowledge heroes such as him.”

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