The Department of Defence comprises people who are spiritually,
ethically and socially empowered.
The Chaplains Service representing a cross-section of the religious
communities in SA, provides spiritual leadership to DOD members at home
and on deployment in order to build human capacity that enhances
spiritual, ethical and human wholeness. It does so within the context of
religious diversity, taking cognizance of the transformation imperatives
of the DOD and in support of democratic peace-building in Africa.
The Chaplainís Service is a support service within the South African
National Defence Force (SANDF). Regular Force chaplains representing all
the major religious bodies in the country are appointed to all four Arms
of Service viz, Army, Navy and Military Health Services.
While Chaplains are all members of the Chaplains Service of the SANDF,
they wear the uniform of the Arm of Service to which they are appointed.
They also fall under command of the Chief of their respective Arms of
Service. This however, does not preclude transfers from one Arm of
Service to another.
RELIGIOUS ADVISORY BOARDS
Chaplains in the SANDF exercise their ministry as representatives of
their religious bodies. In order to foster a spirit of inter-action and
co-operation between the various religious bodies and the Office of the
Chaplain General, the following religious advisory boards have been
o Security Services Christian Advisory Board which include African
o Hindu Advisory Board
o Jewish Advisory Board
o Muslim Advisory Board
These boards are initiated by law to perform the duties of civil
oversight over the Chaplains Services and to advise on policy and
appointments of chaplains within the SANDF
Membership of these boards comprises representatives from the
respective religious bodies and from the Office of the Chaplain General.
This representation is essential to safeguard against domination by the
State in matters pertaining to what is essentially the ministry of the
various religious bodies to their members in the SANDF. It also ensures
that the content of this ministry accords with their beliefs and tenets.
All Chaplains are senior officers and accorded the protocol status of
Colonel / Captain (Navy). They carry the military rank of Chaplain and
the rank insignia, which is unique to the Chaplains Service, comprises a
Chi-Rho monogramme surrounded by a triangle as illustrated below.
The monogramme represents the first three letters of Christ in Greek.
It originates from the days of Constantine, the first Emperor of Rome to
grant religious freedom to Christians. His own conversion to the
Christian faith was initiated by a dream in which the Chi-Rho monogramme
appeared to him. The triangle surrounding the monogramme is the symbolic
representation of the Holy Trinity.
During the vision of the monogramme, Constantine heard the words In
hoc signo vinci. The English translation of these Latin words means, In
this sign conquer. This is the motto of the Chaplains Service and forms
part of the Corps Badge.
The Hindu faith is represented by a Regular Force chaplain. The rank
is Cpln (Vipra) and the mode of address Vipra.
The rank insignia is a deepa (lamp) with flame. This is the symbolic
representation of enlightenment, the life objective of all Hindus.
The Muslims do not have Regular Force chaplains in the SANDF because
of they are small in number. They are however served by part time
workers through the Chaplains Service of the SANDF and are addressed
according to their religious customs as imams.
Christian chaplains are generally referred to and addressed as Padre.
They may however, be addressed according to the practice of their
religious bodies eg, Father, Pastor, Umfundisi (Zulu and Xhosa), Moruti
(Sotho), Dominee (Afrikaans) etc.
The official written form of address is Cpln (for Chaplain) followed
by the appropriate ecclesiastical title of the respective chaplain eg,
Cpln (Rev), Cpln (Fr), Cpln (Pastor), Cpln, etc.
PROFILE OF A CHAPLAIN
The chaplain in the South African National Defence Force is:
to minister in the
passion and commitment to serve God within the Department of
and able to assist all people with their religious, social and
ADAPTABLE to the
and mentally able to serve in operational situations
members wherever they live, work, play or deploy
deeds that enhance a chaplains teaching / words
work inter-denominationally in giving religious support
good relations with all people in the DoD (leaders and followers)
a message of hope, solutions, life and reconciliation to all
people in need