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Defence short course helps with SA’s peacekeeping operations

- Kemantha Govender

Saravani Govender says the Defence and security management short course she recently completed will assist in peace enforcement and peacekeeping operations.

It will also provide input on the South African National Defence Force's (SANDF) strategy and policy matters.

Govender, who graduated top of her class, is a social worker at the SANDF. She works in the Directorate of Social Work and is also a part of the military operations. She currently occupies a social work management post which focuses on performance management and addressing improvement on social work service delivery to the SANDF members, their dependents and approved clientele.

Since starting work at the SANDF in 1996, Govender has been deployed to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Sudan and the Central African Republic to prepare for the deploying of soldiers and families and to conduct team building and social work programmes. Govender is also involved in HIV training of health care workers in the SANDF and counselling of clients as well.

Govender appreciated the adult learning approach that was used because this is the method of teaching in the military and that the programme required her and other students to think analytically.

“The modules studied are applicable in my daily work. The HR and strategic management module broadened my knowledge which I will now apply in my workplace. The modules on International and Regional Security and Public Policy and Comparative Defence ministries compliment the work of the SANDF, and helped me understand currents trends and new developments,” said Govender.

This short course was designed to develop participants’ conceptual understanding of concepts related to multilateral security and examine global and African-specific multilateral security agendas including counter-terrorism, weapon mass destruction, peacekeeping and post-conflict reconstruction and development. It also allows students to explore the evolution of the African security architecture.

Govender’s academic achievements include a BA and Master’s Degree in Social Work and several courses in counselling, management and in joint and multi-national operations. She still makes time for reading, painting and exercising and would now like to pursue a Postgraduate Diploma in Management in the field of Security.  

Govender’s tips for students:

  • Read the literature that is given before the lectures commence.
  • Reading additional information on the topics.
  • Commit time to study and be disciplined in order to perform adequately in this course.
  • It is of vital importance that the students focus on family life and meet the demand of work life as this is a part-time course. Family life is very important hence students should make time for their families. 
  • Good planning by students will assist in achieving their goals.