South Africa, Republic of

Capital: PretoriaArea: 1.221.037 km2Population: 57.730.000Official Language: Afrikaans, English (9 more)Armed Forces Personnel: 55.000Medical Officers: 400Military Hospitals / Institutes: 3/4Missions: n/a

Surgeon General
N.P. Maphaha
Lieutenant General Dr.

Surgeon General of the South African Defence Forces
Office of the Surgeon General
Private Bag X 102
Centurion, 0046

Basic Task of the Military Medical Service
The Military Health Vision

The vision to establish a healthy military community will be our driving force.

The Military Health Mission
The SAMHS will plan and execute these activities according to the mission formulated as “To support the SANDF by providing quality health services for the full range of military deployments and to sustain the health of members of the armed forces, their families and others eligible for care by the SAMHS”.

“A World-Class Clinical Service” 
is the theme within the SAMHS is operating and delivering service.

“We serve the brave”(or ‘Audaces Servamus’) confirms our service delivery responsibility. The SAMHS is a “One Force” consisting of regulars, reserves and civilian personnel, the “Core Force” with core growth capabilities to be able to grow to a “Growth Force” to support major conflict operations.

• The SAMHS provides, prepares and employs military health forces in joint and independent operations and support and sustains operations within the concept of jointness. 

• The SAMHS renders support within the human battle space1 in a layered defence system with a stepped-up health approach. Defence thus requires Force Health Protection and Health Sustainment by means of best value evidence-based quality health services to ensure world-class clinical service.




The SAMHS includes active duty military personnel and civilian employees of the Ministry of Defence. In addition, the service employs roughly 400 medical doctors and private medical specialists are sometimes appointed to supplement the staff of the SAMHS.

The Surgeon General heads the SAMHS and has the rank of Lieutenant-General. The SAMHS operates three Military Hospitals; one in Pretoria, one in Cape Town and one in Bloemfontein. There are also four specialized institutes - the Institute for Aviation Medicine, the Institute for Maritime Medicine, the Military Veterinary Institute and the Military Psychological Institute. Together, these units provide comprehensive medical care for military personnel and their dependents, as well as the police and employees of other security-related government departments, and occasionally to neighbouring countries. The SAMHS also provides extensive veterinary services for animals (mainly horses and dogs) used by the security and correctional services. The Institute for Aviation Medicine and the Institute for Maritime Medicine screen pilot candidates for the air force and for civilian aviation certification, as well as divers and submariners for the navy. The military's medical services also include general medical and dental care, and specialized rehabilitation services.

The SAMHS is organized into regional medical commands, corresponding to the army's regional commands, as well as a Medical Logistics Command and a Medical Training Command. The regional commands support military units, military base hospitals, and military unit sickbays in their region. The Medical Logistics Command is responsible for medical logistics only, as each service provides for its own logistics support. In addition, the Medical Training Command supervises the South African Medical Service College, the South African Military Health Service Nursing College, and the South African Military Health Service Training Centre, as well as the military hospitals' training programs. The nursing college, in Pretoria, grants a four-year nursing diploma in association with the University of South Africa. Specialized, in-service training courses for nurses and for nursing assistants are also available.