An Overview of the Armed Forces of the TBVC Countries*
By Dr Jakkie Cilliers
Director, Institute for Defence Policy
*This article was compiled from a series of interviews with members and former members of the TBVC armed forces over some months. Regrettable no footnotes are possible.
Published in South African Defence Review Issue No 13, 1993
This article presents a brief historical overview of the development and present status of the armed forces of Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei (TBVC countries). It represents as complete a record of these forces as has yet been published. It should be noted however, that no attempt has been made to place the facts within a broad context, apart from a brief discussion of the development of the forces and their involvement in domestic political issues. More quantitatively, the composition and strength of each of the TBVC defence forces are listed. Outlines, rather than exhaustive inventories, of the military and support equipment of the forces is also provided. Finally, defence expenditure figures are provided where these are available.
All four of the TBVC forces were established by the South African Defence Force (SADF) and have, to varying degrees, adopted SADF training systems and standards. For this reason the SADF has been used as a benchmark in the determination of comparable standards. However, the constantly changing SADF course and promotion systems complicates any ready comparison in terms of SADF qualification requirements.