Open letter to South Africa’s students‚ universities and government‚ represented by Minister in the .
PRUDENCE Kau does not regret swapping her dresses for military fatigues.
Kau, 22, of GaRankuwa, Pretoria, enlisted with the South African National Defence Force to fulfil her dream of being a soldier.
"Though I will miss wearing feminine dresses and being with my family and friends, this is an opportunity I cannot let slip through my fingers," Kau said.
Kau matriculated in 2007. She is one of more than 4000 new SANDF recruits expected to report for duty at various military posts today.
More than 1000 of the recruits, mostly matriculants and university graduates, left Johannesburg Park Station yesterday to start training as part of the SANDF's Military Skills Development System.
The programme started in 2003 to deal with the shortage of skilled black professionals in the engineering, air force, medical and navy combat fields, said Department of Defence spokesperson Sam Mkhwanazi.
"After completion of their basic military training, deserving recruits are afforded an opportunity to select a specific career path that includes training for pilots and navigators, doctors, dentists, nurses, artillery, naval combat officers and divers at the expense of the government," Mkhwanazi said.
Shadrack Mataboge, 25, of Soweto, said he looked forward to training and realising his dream to be a nuclear physicist.
Despite graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics in 2006, Mataboge said being unemployed was "like a kick in the backside".
Mataboge will join South African Infantry 3 battalion in Kimberley, Northern Cape.
SANDF director of human resources acquisition in the Brigadier-General Thandi Mohale said the number of recruits was determined by the demand for personnel in the defence force.
Mohale said at 3294 the army took the largest number of recruits, with 600 deployed to the navy, 276 the air force and about 400 the military health services.