SA needs more white soldiers, says defence minister

2015-05-19 16:40
Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. Picture: GCIS

Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. Picture: GCIS

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Cape Town – South Africa needs more white soldiers. When she visits military bases she can easily count the white soldiers, Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said on Tuesday morning at a press conference before her budget speech in Parliament. 

“It is a source of concern,” she said. “We must never find ourselves in a situation where the army isn’t balanced in terms of racial representation. 

“We want to build a defence force that reflects the demographics of our country.” 

Mapisa-Nqakula suggested that the army would apply targeted recruitment measures, maybe even put out feelers at universities. 

“We should have targeted recruitment to bring in those white boys and girls. We don’t want an army that is purely black. It must reflect the Constitution,” she said. 

Part of the process to reach the required demographics would be to keep the “old guard”. Army officials currently retire at the age of 60, but part of the process to correct the demographic figures would be to extend this to 65 years. 

The Defence Act makes provision for soldiers to retire at 65. 

Mapisa-Nqakula ascribed the lowering of the retirement age after 1994 to “over-enthusiasm”. 

“When we came in [to power] we were unaware of some of the challenges that we would face,” she said. “If you are not prepared with a succession plan that has been thought out properly then you will end up in trouble.” 

There were several senior officers present at the press conference. 

“Don’t start counting the months till your retirement just yet,” she said, straight-faced, to them.

Read more on:    nosiviwe maphisa-nqakula  |  military

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