“The Minister of Defence (Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula) gave the SA Army a directive that we must robustly continue tapping into underrepresented communities and bring in capable, young men and women from that sector of society to serve in our military,” Masondo told reporters at a breakfast session in Pretoria.
“The minister made it known that through government’s non-racial policies, extra efforts have to be made to ensure that we redress the imbalances of our painful past. We must guard against falling into an undesirable situation where our military gets disproportionately dominated by one race group.”
The chief of the SA National Defence Force appealed to the media to help in the national drive to lure young, white South Africans into the armed forces.
Last month, Mapisa-Nqakula said too few whites were joining the SA National Defence Force. She then ordered the SANDF to recruit more whites to the military.
“When I look at the entry levels of the army, the younger ones, you see that if you go into a hall…you can literally count…how many white young people are coming into the force,” she said.
“That’s a matter of concern because we want to build the kind of defence force which in five years will still continue to reflect the demographics of our society.”
At the same time, Mapisa-Nqakula announced she would be raising the retirement age for SANDF staff from 60 to 65.
“I don’t know why on earth we developed a regulation which directs us to get our people to retire at the age of 60,” she said.
Mapisa-Nqakula said there was no need to change the law, but she would alter regulations which would give effect to the new retirement age.
On Thursday, Masondo said the national army was dogged by problems including budgetary constraints to support the SA Army’s continued presence in other conflict-stricken African countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo.