Die geskiedenis van die Suid-Afrikaanse Militêre Akademie, 1950-1990

Visser, Gideon Erasmus (2000)

Thesis (PhD) -- Universiteit van Stellenbosch, 2000.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The South African Military Academy was established on 1 April 1950 with a view to placing candidate officer training in the Union Defence Force on par with standards abroad and at the same time to elevating it to the level of a university degree. In addition, the Minister of Defence, F.C. Erasmus, wanted to use the Academy as an instrument enabling Afrikaners to take up their rightful place alongside English-speaking citizens in the officer corps. In so doing, he hoped, eventually, to replace the predominant British character of the Union Defence Force with a unique South African, and more particularly an Afrikaner, character. Despite strong resistance to change from within the officer corps, motivated by political sentiment and more so by opposition to the novel idea of degree studies for officers, the Academy developed into a viable training institution. Broadly based on the training systems of Sandhurst and West Point, and following the example of the Indian National Defence Academy, the Military Academy became a joint training institution for all four arms of the service. Yet financial constraints, a lack of suitable candidates, as well as the conflicting sentiments and training needs of the arms of the service, prevented the formative training of all candidate officers from being assigned to the Academy. The absence of formative training, together with the admittance of junior officers, instead of solely candidate officers, resulted in the Academy gaining the character of a military university rather than a traditional military academy. The Academy was deprived of a distinct function in the overall officers' development system, which put its survival in the balance and triggered a series of investigations into its role and function. The opposing subcultures that developed between the Dean and the Faculty of Military Science on the one hand, and the Officer Commanding and the Military Training Branch on the other, formed part of the debate. Also in dispute, was the location of the Academy at Saldanha, rather than in the military heart-land in Pretoria. By interpreting the academic training needs of the Defence Force correctly and positioning itself accordingly, the Academy survived that crisis. Thereafter, the Academy time and again adapted to the changing military and socio-political environment and strove towards ever increasing relevance to the Defence Force. In this way female and non-European students were admitted to the Military Academy, whilst the way was also paved for the admittance of students from other African states. In anticipation of the new political dispensation in South Africa, a concerted effort was launched in 1990 to make the student body more representative of the South Africa population in terms of race and sex. The Military Academy has through the years established itself as a credible militaryacademic institution and has made a significant contribution towards military professionalism in South Africa. By 1990 it favourably positioned itself to continue that role in future. Though forming only a small percentage of the total officer corps, the Academy graduates have gradually been distributed at all levels of the officer corps and have dominated the top posts in the SA Defence Force since the early 1970's. They were consequently well placed in 1990 to playa significant role in preparing the Defence Force for the so-called "New South Africa".

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die Suid-Afrikaanse Militêre Akademie is op 1 April 1950 gestig met die doelom die militêrakademiese . opleiding van kandidaatoffisiere hier te lande op dieselfde peil as in die buiteland te bring en dit terselfdertyd tot universiteitsvlak te verhef. Die Minister van Verdediging, F.e. Erasmus, wou egter ook die Akademie gebruik as instrument om die Afrikaner sy regmatige plek, naas Engelssprekendes, in die offisierskorps te laat inneem en sodoende die oorwegend Britse karakter van die Unieverdedigingsmag met 'n eie, Suid- Afrikaanse karakter, en meer bepaald 'n Afrikaner-karakter, te vervang. Ondanks sterk weerstand teen verandering vanuit die offisierskorps, hetsy vanweë politieke sentimente, of, meer bepaald, teenkanting teen die idee van graadstudie vir offisiere, het die Akademie tot 'n lewensvatbare opleidingsinrigting ontwikkel. Breedweg geskoei op die opleidingsmodelle van Sand hurst en West Point, het die Militêre Akademie, na die voorbeeld van die Indiese National Defence Academy, 'n gesamentlike opleidingsinrigting vir al vier weermagsdele geword. Finansiële beperkings, 'n gebrek aan geskikte kandidate, asook die botsende opleidingsbehoeftes en sentimente van die onderskeie weermagsdele, het egter verhoed dat die vormingsopleiding van alle kandidaatoffisiere, met die uitsondering van die vroeë sewentigerjare, aan die Akademie toevertrou is. Die afwesigheid van vormingsopleiding, tesame met die toelating van junior offisiere, in stede van kandidaatoffisiere alleen, het daartoe gelei dat die Akademie mettertyd die karakter van 'n militêre universiteit, eerder as 'n tradisionele militêre akademie, aangeneem het. Die Akademie is in dié proses 'n duidelike rol in die totale offisiersontwikkelingsproses ontneem, wat sy voortbestaan ernstig in die weegskaal geplaas het en tot verskeie ondersoeke na sy rol en funksie gelei het. Deel van die debat, was die botsende subkulture wat deur die jare tussen die Dekaan en die Fakulteit Krygskunde aan die een kant, en die Bevelvoerder en die Tak Militêre Opleiding aan die ander kant, ontstaan het, asook die moontlike verskuiwing van die Akademie van Saldanha na die militêre hartland in Pretoria. Deur die akademiese opleidingsbehoeftes van die Weermag korrek te vertolk en hom dienooreenkomstig te posisioneer, het die Akademie egter dié krisis afgeweer. Hy het daarna telkens by die veranderende militêre en sosio-politieke omstandighede aangepas en immer groter diensbaarheid in die militêr-akademiese milieu nagestreef. Só het dames en anderskleuriges mettertyd hul pad na die Akademie gevind en is die weg ook vir die toelating van studente uit ander Afrikastate gebaan. In 1990, in afwagting van die nuwe politieke bedeling in Suid-Afrika, het die Akademie 'n doelgerigte poging van stapel gestuur om die studentekorps meer verteenwoordigend van die bevolkingsamestelling ten opsigte van ras en geslag te maak. Die Militêre Akademie het hom deur die jare as 'n geloofwaardige militêr-akademiese instelling gevestig en 'n betekenisvolle bydrae tot militêre professionalisme in Suid-Afrika gelewer. Teen 1990 was hy reeds besig om hom gunstig te posisioneer om ook in die toekoms dié rol te kon speel. Hoewel 'n klein persentasie van die totale offisiersterkte, het die Akademie-graduandi geleidelik alle vlakke van die offisierskorps deurspek en sedert die vroeg-sewentigerjare die topposte in die SA Weermag gedomineer. Teen 1990 was hulle dus goed geplaas om 'n betekenisvolle rol in die voorbereiding van die Weermag vir die sogenaamde "Nuwe Suid-Afrika" te speel.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/51701
This item appears in the following collections: