Mainly covers the period June 1998 to April 2001 as well as including some earlier information.

  • Population:
    – total: 39,900,000
    – under-18s: 16,550,000
  • Government armed forces:
    – active: 63,389
    – reserves: 87,392
  • Compulsory recruitment age: no conscription
  • Voluntary recruitment age: 18
  • Voting age (government elections): 18
  • Child soldiers: none indicated
  • CRC-OP-CAC: not signed
  • Other treaties ratified: CRC; GC/API+II; ICC; ILO 182
  • There are no indications of under-18s in government armed forces.


National Recruitment Legislation and Practice

Recruitment into the armed forces is voluntary since a decision was taken in 1994 to end conscription. The Defence Act adopted in 1999 provides that the minimum age for recruitment into the armed forces is 18.

Military Training and Military Schools

There no students are under the age of 18 in military schools in South Africa.


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