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

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

Identiferoai:union.ndltd.org:netd.ac.za/oai:union.ndltd.org:sun/oai:scholar.sun.ac.za:10019.1/51701
Date January 2000
CreatorsVisser, Gideon Erasmus
ContributorsKapp, P.H., Kotze, J.S., Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences . Dept. of History .
PublisherStellenbosch : Stellenbosch University
Source SetsSouth African National ETD Portal
Languageaf_ZA
Detected LanguageUnknown
TypeThesis
Format2 v.
RightsStellenbosch University

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