Military skills development system

SA Army Military Skills Development System (MSDS)


The South African Army’s mandate centres on the provisioning of combat-ready forces and the leading role it has to play in the development of the Army component of the landward defence capability. The South African Army, its members one in spirit, has the commanding presence and the power of a pride of lions, forever professional and ready, making a difference in serving South Africa, no matter where and under what circumstances.

Training Opportunities in the South African Army

The Military Skills Development System (MSDS) programme is a two-year voluntary service system with the long-term goal of enhancing the South African National Defence Force’s deployment capability. Recruits are required to sign up for a period of two years, during which they will receive military training and further functional training in their first year of service. During the second year of service, depending on the duration of their functional orientation, they will be deployed where needed and given the opportunity to apply their knowledge and develop their skills.


  • South African citizen
  • Age between 18 and 22 years (Graduates up to the age of 26 years)
  • Currently busy with the National Senior Certificate (GR12) or completed
  • Not area bound
  • No record of a criminal offence
  • Preferably single
  • Comply with medical fitness requirements for appointment in the South African National Defence Force
  • Be prepared to Basic Military Training, Functional Training and to serve in uniform

Additional Requirements

Applicants will be divided into three groups

  • Applicants in possession of a recognised University Degree/3-year Diploma (MSDS Graduates)
    The nature of the degree will be evaluated against the need of the Army for such skills at the given time. Applicants will be informed as to whether they will be invited for further selection. These applicants will be earmarked for leadership development and or non-leadergroup training. Leadership potential will be assessed as part of the selection process.
  • Applicants with above average school grades and leadership potential A (MSDS Applicants)
    These applicants will be earmarked for training that will focus primarily on developing their leadership potential during the second year of utilisation. After successful completion of these training courses, members can be selected for further service in the Core Service System (CSS) studies at the Military Academy, or receive further training and fill leadership positions in one of the many functional fields in the Army. Only candidates with Grade 12 exemption can be considered for studies at the Military Academy.

  • Applicants with Grade 12 (MSDS Applicants)
    Applicants will be screened according to a CV, focussing on educational performance, participation in sport and community involvement. Further selection will mainly focus on cognitive ability, motivation and determination to join the SA Army and to be appointed in a corps specific field. MSDS candidates will be appointed in a specific corps and will be called-up to an operational unit where members will complete their Basic Military Training and Corps Functional Training in the first year and be utilised and deployed in the second year in the MSDS.

Remuneration and Service Benefits

  • Wages
    Military Skills Development System members will receive wages for the duration of their two year full-time training and utilisation. This will annually be adjusted in accordance with the annual improvement in conditions of service.

  • Service Bonus
    On the successful completion of the two year Military Skills Development System contract, a cash bonus of R 18 000,00 will be paid to the members.
  • Service Agreement
    Employment in terms of Section 52 of the Defence Act 2002 in the Regulars for a two year period of full-time training and utilisation and an undertaking to serve for five years in the Reserves.

  • Education, Training and Development
    All education, training and development must be completed successfully in terms of the prescribed standards within the two year training and utilisation period.

  • Salary Date
    On the last working day of a calendar month.

  • Rank Progression
    The measures contained in the Personnel Management Code for Military Practitioners, read together with the South African National Defence Force Promotion Policy, apply.

  • Military Code of Conduct
    The member shall abide by the Military Code of Conduct and will be subjected to the supplementary Military Disciplinary Act and the Military Disciplinary Code.

  • Voluntary Resignation
    The Military Skills Development System member may resign from the Military Skills Development System – 90 days period.
  • Termination of Contract
    The South African National Defence Force reserves the right to terminate a member’s contract after thirty days notice on the following grounds:
    • Any information given during entrance into the Military Skills Development System is found to be incorrect.
    • If the Military Skills Development System member failed basic military training and/or the completion of any prescribed education, training and development.
    • The deterioration of a members’ medical condition to the extent that the member can no longer complete the prescribed training or is no longer operationally deployable (including temporary medical reclassification).
    • Pregnancy – risk to the health of the mother and unborn child.

Professional Military Development in the South African Army

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First Year of Military Skills Development Service

  • Basic military training and functional training.
  • Corps specific training.
  • Participation in practical military exercises.
  • Combat ready training exercises.
  • Selection of junior leaders.

Second Year of Military Skills Development Service

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