What is the URTP

Since the cessation of conscription in 1992, the Reserve has become short of leaders at the junior officer level who will eventually develop into the senior commanders of the future. This shortfall downgrades Defence efficiency and impedes transformation in the SANDF.

A tried and proven source of such leadership lies in the student bodies of universities and other tertiary institutions – as has been recognised and successfully utilised for over a century in many countries. The leadership and management training given to such potential officers is applicable to both the military and civilian sectors, and provides an additional dimension of personal development to the part-time volunteer soldier, which may contribute materially to further achievement and success on the student’s chosen career path, both civilian and military.

The SANDF is introducing the University Reserve Training Programme (URTP) to source such junior leaders from the “best and the brightest” of the undergraduate and postgraduate student bodies. The URTP provides a challenging programme of military training along with leadership and other complementary social, cultural and physical training. The goal of a URTP recruit is to become simultaneously a fighter in wartime, a leader of character, and a member of a profession and a servant of the nation. This will enable the holder to confront future challenges, both civilian and military, with inspiration and motivation.

Applicants are selected by process of interviews and prescribed tests, following the normal acquisition processes within the Department of Defence (DOD). For successful applicants, two years of training leads to commissioning as a second lieutenant or a lieutenant where a member already holds a degree or diploma of equal value (equivalent ranking within the SA Navy), followed by a volunteer military service contract in the Reserves of the SANDF.

University Reserve Training Programme Charter