SANDF personnel earn

How much do SANDF personnel earn? Picture: File/Fotor.

What SANDF personnel EARN, and 6 roles that need FILLING

It’s not an easy job by any means but salaries are significantly higher than the South African average. Here’s what SANDF personnel earn.

SANDF personnel earn

How much do SANDF personnel earn? Picture: File/Fotor.

It’s arguably the toughest vocation in the country, but what do SANDF personnel earn for their sacrifice? As we’ve reported, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has struggled with unfortunate loss of life recently.

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Veld fires and an overturned service vehicle in the Northern Cape, as well as a mariner’s training accident in the Western Cape have been bad for the SANDF. Nevertheless, it’s on an active recruitment drive. So, what do SANDF personnel earn and what positions need filling?


SANDF personnel earn
How much do SANDF personnel earn? Image: LOYISO MPALANTSHANE/STOCK IMAGE

Before we get into salaries, it’s worth mentioning that the SANDF plays an integral role in safeguarding South Africa. They are often deployed, both nationally and internationally, during the most extreme times of crisis. Nevertheless, knowing what SANDF personnel earn is crucial for anyone interested in joining.

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According to Money Today, the SANDF has 74 500 active personnel in 2023. Although there is talk of a 10% budget cut for 2024, the current SANDF allocation is R46.2 billion. Of this, R3.5 billion is allocated to salaries and supplementing SANDF personnel earn through annual bonuses.


SANDF personnel earn
It’s a tough job, but SANDF personnel are paid higher than the South African average. Picture: Ground Up.

SANDF personnel are guaranteed significantly higher earnings than the South African average. On average, a SANDF employee’s salary increases by 10% every 16 months. Way more than the national average.

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Sadly, gender equality is an issue in the SANDF, and a wage gap exists between what male and female personnel:

  • On average, male SANDF personnel earn R35 900 per month.
  • Female counterparts earn R32 100 per month.

This equates to:

  • R430 800 for men annually.
  • R385 200 for women annually.


SANDF personnel earn
SA Army Chief, Lieutenant General Lawrence Mbatha. Picture: SANDF.

Like any vocation, SANDF salaries are linked to education and experience:

  • A diploma will earn you roughly 17% more.
  • A Bachelor’s degree, 24% more.
  • Any SANDF employees with a doctorate command 130% more.
  • SANDF staff with 20+ years of experience earn the highest salaries, 9% more than those with 16-to-20 years experience.

1. RIFLEMAN – R18 800 p/m

A rifleman in the SANDF serves as an infantry soldier and plays a critical role in ground combat and military operations. A rifleman will engage in fighting and support the overall mission.

2. SOLDIER – R24 400 p/m

A rank-and-file soldier’s duties include defence, security, and military operations. These roles differ based on branch of service (Army, Air Force, Navy or specialised units).

3. ARMY OFFICER – R25 600 p/m

An Army Officer commands military personnel and operations within the land-based branch of the SANDF. The responsibilities vary depending on their rank, unit and division.


An Armed Forces Officer is a high-ranking role, responsible for management and strategic decision making. They are senior officials overseeing operations and readiness of the armed forces.

5. DEFENCE OFFICER – R34 700 p/m

A Defense Officer is a broad term for various responsibilities. Typically a range of duties related to the defense and security of the country, based on rank, specialisation and their branch.


Military personnel serve a wide range of roles and responsibilities. These include Army, Navy, Air Force, or specialised units. Job wise, military personnel will be asked to defend the country, go on peacekeeping missions, train regularly, maintain equipment, perform search and rescue, counterterrorism and train new recruits.

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What do you think of how much SANDF personnel earn? Would you be interested in enlisting yourself? Be sure to share your thoughts with our audience in the comments section below. And don’t forget to follow us @TheSANews on Twitter and The South African on Facebook for the latest updates.