Pretoria, South Africa – The Joint Standing Committee on Defence emphasized the urgent need for appointing the Chief Defence Reserves to guide strategic decisions affecting the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and its Reserve Force. This call was made in light of the SANDF’s ongoing review process regarding the role, cost, and rejuvenation of the Reserve Force.
According to parliament of South Africa, Mr. Cyril Xaba, Co-Chairperson of the committee, stated that the absence of a permanent Chief Defence Reserves could negatively impact strategic decision-making for the SANDF’s future. The committee believes the average age of reserves, which is 46 and rising, requires immediate strategies for rejuvenation.
The committee also expressed concern about budget reductions leading to the further decline of the reserves. It appreciated the Reserve Force Indaba II’s engagement in developing strategic directions for the reserves and requested that the final product be presented to the committee for their input.
Additionally, the committee urged the SANDF to clarify the status of approximately 7,500 members not called up in the past five years. It emphasized the need for collaboration between the Department of Defence and the Department of Home Affairs to ensure the functionality of the PERSOL system.
The committee recognized the critical importance of the Reserve Force, particularly its surge capability and provision of specialist skills to the SANDF.