Sep 03, 2010
SA Army Engineer Corps provides training in key tradesBack
Pretoria|Explosives|Tshwane South College|Tshwane University Of Technology|Explosives|Power Tools|Printing Maps|Satellite Base|Erica Westraadt|Lorraine Madisa
© 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
Other News This Week News
Updated 7 hours ago Canadian clean energy fuel cell specialist Ballard Power Systems on Thursday announced that it had signed a nonbinding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with European bus manufacturer Van Hool, in support of the manufacturing and further deployment of zero-emission...
Updated 7 hours ago Following Cabinet approval this week, the Department of Communications (DoC) on Friday published South Africa’s long-awaited broadband plan to close the nation’s broadband gap. The much-revised National Broadband Policy, Strategy and Plan, also known as ‘South...
Updated 7 hours ago Consulting engineering firm GIBB on Thursday announced its proposed acquisition of a major interest in architectural firm Stauch Vorster International to create a multidisciplinary firm that would have the ability operate in a range of public, commercial and...
Recent Research Reports
Defence 2013: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Defence Report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key players in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the defence sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial...
Road and Rail 2013: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2013 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...
Liquid Fuels 2013 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Liquid Fuels report examines South Africa’s liquid fuels market, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing,...
Projects in Progress - Second Edition (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s second Projects in Progress supplement considers some of the major project developments under way, including high-profile energy and transport projects, as well as a few of the lower-profile public and private developments. What remains apparent is...
Water 2013: A review of South Africa’s water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2013 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
Canadian Mining Roundup for June 2013 (PDF Report)
The June 2013 roundup includes details of the development of TSX-V-listed Aldridge Minerals’ flagship Yenipazar polymetallic project, in Turkey; the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s renewal of Cameco’s uranium mining licence pertaining to the Cigar Lake...
This Week's Magazine
Mitsubishi Motors South Africa (MMSA) has introduced a 4x2 derivative of its Pajero Sport sports-utility vehicle (SUV), which will give it access to a substantial slice of the full-size SUV market, where it will compete with the likes of the Ford Everest, Chevrolet...
South African Energy Minister Ben Martins has affirmed that the government wants the country to be globally competitive in the nuclear sector. "Our responsibility has always been ... to ensure that, in nuclear energy, South Africa can compete with the rest of the...
Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) president and CEO Dr Martin Zimmermann describes the new S-Class as “a special place to be”, with the car creating a sense of “wellness” once you are seated inside the German brand’s flagship model. It is difficult to argue...
Water scarcity and water-quality issues are broadly recognised and understood in most political, business and civil organisations in South Africa, but solving water issues will require wide and continuous action in catchments and municipalities by organisations and...
Work is well under way on the R212-million Imvutshane dam, 30 km north-west of Stanger, in KwaZulu-Natal, which is a key link in supplying people in rural Maphumulo with a reliable source of safe drinking water.