Part-time volunteers building a South Africa that truly belongs to all


There are two categories in which volunteers can join the Reserves, namely:

  • Category 1.  Volunteers without previous military training or service
  • Category 2.  Volunteers with previous military service

How to join the Reserve Force without previous military training or service:

  • Through the full time two year Military Skills Development System (MSDS), young people with a grade 12 qualification, between the ages of 18 and 29 and who meet the requirements, as set out further down on this page, can join the SANDF through this system and eventually become members of the Reserve. Click on FAQs for more information about the MSDS.

  • At certain academic institutions registered students studying towards a degree or a post graduate or equivalent qualification, can join the Reserves through the University Reserve Training Programme (URTP). This programme is aimed at recruiting young people in the age group 18 to 26 with the objective of training and developing them for military leadership appointments.
  • What is the URTP? The University Reserve Training Programme (URTP) is a programme whereby undergraduates and postgraduates enroll as Reserve Force (Part-time) members of the SANDF and undergo military training.  Recruitment for the URTP takes place on the campuses of various identified Tertiary Institutions.  On completion of the URTP members are then appointed as junior leaders in the SANDF.  They may be utilized in the military in terms of their professional qualification or not, depending on their preference.

    URTP Charter

  • Prospective volunteers with professional qualifications or scarce skills and or capabilities required by the military can be accommodated in the Reserves.  As these volunteers are recruited mainly for utilisation within their professional qualifications, the age restrictions are more lenient than in the MSDS and URTP.  Services and Divisions keep a “pool of specialist” lists to which members are attached.  Contact the specific Service or Division you would like to join directly.
Note: The SANDF is currently not recruiting persons without professional qualifications directly into the Reserves. All candidates must enter via one of the above three categories.

How to join the Reserve Force when you have previous military training:

  • Volunteers who have previously done military service in the statutory or non-statutory forces can apply to join the Reserve Force. Members should be between 18 and 65 years and have no criminal convictions. Members of the South African Police Service, Metro Police and Department of Correctional Service may not be considered for enrolment in the Reserve Force
  • You will need to have your original force number and complete the necessary application forms for appointment in the Reserves.

    Note: The SANDF does not recruit persons who did their service in foreign defence forces into the Reserves.

    Application form


    After the completion of the application send the form to the specific Service/Division together with the SAPD 91 (a)/SAPS 91 (a) form from your relevant police station.

The Requirements for both categories to join the Reserve Force are as follows:

  • New applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 29 years (the allocated age varies according to the category of training/service) when joining for the first time. This age band does not apply to applicants with professional or skilled qualifications.
  • Applicants must pass the prescribed medical and psychometric tests for appointment in a specific post or entrance to a specific training programme.
  • Applicants must sign the prescribed voluntary service contract and be prepared to render service when required in terms of the Defence Act and the General Regulations of the SANDF.
  • If employed, the applicant’s employer must be willing to grant special leave for military activities within reasonable demands.
  • Applicants must have no military or civilian criminal record.
  • Applicants must be a RSA citizen.

Conditions for appointment

  • Availability of a vacant post.
  • Medical fitness (applicants will have to undergo the prescribed SANDF military health examination).
  • The successful completion of psychometric tests and appearance before a selection board (when necessary for certain appointments, eg, officer’s appointments. This is not applicable for ex-regular members).

Who to contact

Please note that volunteers must send their completed forms to one of the Services or Divisions and not to the Chief Defence Reserves Office, as the appointment of volunteers and the processing of the application forms are done directly by the Services and Divisions or the units under their command.  The Chief Defence Reserves Office does not process the appointment of volunteers.


SOUTH AFRICAN ARMY; Telephone: (012) 355-1492/1150 Fax: (012) 355-1032

SOUTH AFRICAN AIR FORCE Telephone: (012) 312-2033 (012) 312-1188(012) 312-2639 Fax: (012) 312-1347

SOUTH AFRICAN NAVY Telephone: (012) 339-4145 Fax: (012) 399-4112

SOUTH AFRICAN MILITARY HEALTH SERVICE Telephone: (012) 367-9039 Fax: (012) 367-9040

LOGISTIC SUPPORT FORMATION Telephone: (012) 671-0261 Fax: (012) 671-0377

CHIEF MILITARY LEGAL SERVICE  Telephone: (012) 674-5523

CHAPLAIN GENERAL Telephone: (012) 312-4846 Fax: (012) 312-4868

Additional information

  • Members may join the SA Army, SA Air Force, SA Navy or SA Military Health Service.
  • Once you have joined, you will be allocated to a unit where you will be utilised and administered until your services are terminiated either by resignation, discharge or reaching the complusary retirment age.
  • Members will wear a uniform.
  • Members will enjoy medical coverage during time of military service.
  • Members will receive military training, eg, learning how to march, salute and shoot.
  • Members will receive payment for the hours they have worked at a unit.
  • Many of the skills obtained / acquired by the members during military service will be useful in their civilian careers as well.

Available Reserve Force Areas of Interest (Service) to Support the SA Army Landward Defence Capabilities

  • Infantry.
  • Armour.
  • Artillery.
  • Air Defence Artillery.
  • Engineers.
  • Operational Intelligence.
  • Training.
  • Operational Support.

Available Reserve Force Areas of Interest (Service) to Support the SA Air Force Warfare Capabilities:

  • Air Force Territorial Reserve (ATR). This element is made up of eight AFR Squadrons stationed at strategic centres throughout the country. The Reserve Squadrons operate civilian-registered aircraft. The pilots must either have their own suitable aircraft or must have guaranteed access to the use of an aircraft appropriate to provide a service to the SA Air Force.
  • Air Force Conventional Reserve (AFR). The conventional element of the AFR is made up of aircrew who have served in Regular Force Squadrons, protection and tactical airfield service, aeronautical technicians and other civilian aviation expertise as well as experts in disciplines relevant to the needs of the SA Air Force.

Available Reserve Force Areas of Interest (Service) to Support the SA Naval Maritime Warfare

The Navy Reserve Force offers the same career opportunities as the Regular Force. This is made possible due to the “One Force Policy” where no distinction is made between the utilization and training of members.

Available Reserve Force Areas of Interest (Service) to Support SA Military Health Service

The SA Military Health Service Reserve supports the mission of the SAMHS, to provide a comprehensive, excellent and self-supporting multi-disciplinary military health service, which ensures a healthy military community.

Other Services/Divisions/Support where Reserve Force Service can be Rendered

    • Joint Operations
    • Defence Corporate Communication
    • Defence Intelligence
    • Strategy and Planning
    • Military Legal Service
    • Foreign Relations
    • Military Police Agency
    • Director Language
    • Logistics (Log Support Formation and Defence Works Formation
    • Human Resource
    • Training Formations
    • Chaplain Service
    • Finance
    • Acquisition/Procurement
    • Director Integrated Management Systems (DIMS)
    • Inspector General (IG)
    • Command and Management Information Systems (CMIS)

Retirement Age for Reserve Force Members of the SA National Defence Force

Members of the Reserve typically retire no later than the age of 65, but depending on their roles they may be required to retire earlier.