Sep 03, 2010
SA Army Engineer Corps provides training in key tradesBack
Construction|Engineering|Expertise|Pretoria|Defence|Explosives|System|Systems|Water|Tshwane South College|Tshwane University Of Technology|Building|Explosives|Power Tools|Printing Maps|Satellite Base|Systems|Erica Westraadt|Lorraine Madisa|Power|Water
© Reuse this
Every year, the SAEC runs 100 training courses and many of the skills taught are directly relevant to the national economy. The tradespeople and professionals taught and employed by the SAEC include bricklayers, carpenters, construction machine operators, draughtspeople, electricians, geographic information specialists, plumbers, surveyors and welders. SAEC personnel are also instructed in the use of power tools and explosives and many are trained to drive heavy trucks. Most of the training is con- ducted at the School of Engineers, at Kroonstad, in the Free State.
These days, everyone wishing to join the SA Army must start by going through the two-year Military Skills Development System (MSDS). MSDS recruits at the School of Engineers do their training at the Junior Training Branch at the Bossiespruit satellite base, just outside Kroonstad. Currently, there are 24 instructors and 129 trainees at Bossiespruit.
“When the members arrive, we start with basic military training – for example, military discipline, how to drill, how to iron their uniforms, when and where to wear their uniforms and how to behave in uniform, as well as R4 rifle shooting training – which they have to complete successfully in order to pass their basic military training,” explains Junior Training Branch commander Major Erica Westraadt.
Then follows corps training. “We give them the basic skills of military engineers, which are focused on combat,” elucidates Westraadt. “We do mine warfare modules, we do the basic field engineering module, the power tools and field defence module, the water purification and water provision module and the watermanship (swimming and boat handling)module. Then, finally, we have the bridge building module.” Basic military training takes 18 weeks, followed by another 18 weeks of corps training – the recruits arrive in January and graduate in September.
Among the recruits soon to graduate from the Junior Training Branch is Private (Pvt) Lorraine Madisa. “Most women fear engineering. They think it is heavy work. But I saw it as a challenge. You have to focus and be yourself and you will pull through. I did electrical engineering at the Tshwane South College before I joined the army. “I am now seven months in the army. Did I make the right decision? Yes! We have good instructors, good discipline and a good variety of work. I want to join the permanent force.”
“I studied heavy current electrical engineering at Tshwane University of Technology. I was always attracted by the idea of being a soldier. I wanted to do something different from my friends,” recounts Pvt Trinity Sambo. “This is the best choice I’ve ever made. I want to stay and be in the regular forces.”
(It should perhaps be noted that no officer or noncommissioned officer was in earshot when these recruits made their comments).
“Once they have graduated from Bossiespruit, they will move to 2 Field Engineer Regiment, in Bethlehem (also in the Free State), where they will continue with combat readiness training,” explains Westraadt. During this phase, they will take part in an all-arms exercise, designated Exercise Seboka, at the SA Army Combat Training Centre, at Lohatlha, in the Northern Cape province.
On completion of this phase of their training, they will either remain at 2 Field Regiment to become combat engineers, or be assigned to the other regular units of the SAEC – 1 Construction Regiment, at Nigel, in Gauteng province; the Engineer Terrain Intelligence Regiment (created in April through the amalgamation of 1 Military Printing Regiment and 4 Surveying and Mapping Regiment), also in Pretoria; and 35 Engineer Support Regiment, also at Nigel.
At the end of their two-year MSDS period, some of the new soldiers will be offered contracts to join the permanent force (the number will depend on the vacancies available) and the remainder will be honorably discharged but encouraged (they cannot be compelled) to join the SAEC’s reserve component. Permanent force contracts, known as the Core Skills System, are for five years and are repeatedly renewable. (General officers are covered by a different type of contract.)
Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other News This Week News
Updated 6 minutes ago South Africa's greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions continue to rise, but are on track to meet targets the country agreed to at the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen five years ago, government said on Tuesday. Responding to a question at a briefing in Pretoria,...
Updated 23 minutes ago The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and the University of Venda, have signed a R300-million loan agreement for the construction of on-campus student accommodation at the university’s Thohoyandou campus, in Limpopo. With an estimated cost of R448-million,...
Updated 2 hours 13 minutes ago The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has called on interested parties to lodge written representations in relation to Vodacom’s proposed R7-billion buy-out of converged communications network operator Neotel within 21 days. Icasa outlined...
Recent Research Reports
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
This Week's Magazine
While Ekurhuleni-based transformer manufacturer Reliable Transformers currently designs, manufactures and tests its products according to the SANS 780 specifications for distribution transformers and other applicable transformer specifications, it is working towards...
Global endpoint security solutions company Kaspersky Lab has introduced new measures to prevent cyber criminals from accessing sensitive data, alongside its malware-signature and heuristic device analysis detection methods. Threats to mobile devices have increased...
To ensure uptake and a positive impact, Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) networks in cities must be provided at schools, community centres and commercial centres to enable citizens and government to access information that will improve access to and delivery of services....
Eco-estate Monaghan Farm, located near Lanseria airport, north-west of Johannesburg, has taken a new approach to modern living and sustainability with its 517 ha development, dedicated to farm living.
Forklift and lift-truck distributor Goscor Lift Hi-Reach launched the Genie SX-180, the tallest self-propelled super boom in Africa, in Johannesburg last month. “As the official distributor of the well-known Genie range of equipment in Southern Africa, we are pleased...