The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) comprises the armed forces of South Africa. The commander of the SANDF is appointed by the President of South Africa from one of the armed services. They are in turn accountable to the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans of the Defence Department.
The military as it exists today was created in 1994, following South Africa’s first post-apartheid national elections and the adoption of a new constitution. It replaced the South African Defence Force and also integrated uMkhonto we Sizwe guerilla forces.
The SANDF took over the personnel and equipment from the SADF and integrated forces from the former Bantustan homelands forces,:5 as well as personnel from the former guerrilla forces of some of the political parties involved in South Africa, such as the African National Congress’s Umkhonto we Sizwe, the Pan Africanist Congress’s Azanian People’s Liberation Army and the Self-Protection Units of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP).
As of 2004, the integration process was considered complete, with retaining personnel, structure, and equipment from the SADF. However, due to integration problems, financial constraints, and other issues, the SANDF faced capability constraints.
The South African Commando System was a civil militia active until 2008, based upon local units from the size of company to battalion. In its final years its role was to support the South African Police Service during internal operations. During such deployments the units came under SAPS control.
The SANDF is involved in a number of internal operations, including:
Safeguarding the Border (Operation CORONA)
Disaster relief and assistance (Operation CHARIOT)
Safety and security (Operation PROSPER)
Ridding the country of illegal weapons, drug dens, prostitution rings and other illegal activities (Operation FIELA)
The SANDF partakes in UN peacekeeping missions, mostly on the African continent. It also provides election security when needed.
In 2010, a Defence Amendment Bill created a permanent National Defence Force Service Commission (NDFSC), a body that will advise the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans on the improvement of conditions of service of members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).
Members of the Commission include the Chiefs of the service arms, as well as the Chief of Defence Intelligence as well as the Chief of Joint Operations
Four armed services make up the forces of the SANDF:
South African Army
South African Air Force
South African Navy
South African Military Health Service
The Joint Operations Division is responsible for co-ordinating all Joint Operations involving any or all of the four services. The South African Special Forces Brigade is the only organic unit under the direct command of the Joint Operations division. Unlike most other special forces it is not part of the Army or any other branch of the SANDF.