Signals Association

Past and Present Chairmen

Johan de Villiers - 1st Chairman 02/12/2000 to 29/03/2005
(Member of 3 Signal Squadron and South Africa’s last Postmaster General)


Johannes Hendrik (Johan) de Villiers was born on a farm near Riviersonderend in the Southern Cape on 8th October 1931 and went to school at nearby Napier.  After completing matric in 1948 he joined the old Department of Posts and Telecommunications and then enrolled at UNISA where he attained the degrees BA and BCom Hons. He worked in the Post Office as the Department was then called until his retirement on 31st October 1991 as the last serving Postmaster General of the Republic of South Africa. The Department was thereafter transformed into two separate companies namely SA Post Office Ltd and Telkom SA Ltd.

Johan underwent his compulsory military training in 3 Signal Squadron at Youngsfield from 1949 to 1952 of which Major DMC Johnson was then the commanding officer. Johan fondly remembers that basic military service was rather dull and boring at the time with nothing serious threatening our borders. For example, on a Saturday afternoon the troopies would much rather listen to horse racing on their field radios than practising the real use of the instruments.

Johan is married to Marié and the couple lives in Hermanus. He has three married children and nine grandchildren.

Pierre Fourie - Chairman 19/03/2012 to 25/03/2013

Pierre Johan Fourie was born in the little town of Elliot in the Eastern Cape on 11 December 1951.  He started his schooling at De Vos Malan in King Williams Town and also matriculated there in 1970.

He commenced his basic military training at 1 Signal Regiment, Pretoria on 7 July 1971 and a few days later, on 26 July, transferred to the School of Signals on instructor’s course where he served until 16 June 1972.

Thereafter, he was transferred to 7 Signal Squadron, Pretoria on 31 October 1972, to 202 Signal Squadron in Port Elizabeth on 31 September 1975, where after he was further transferred to Northern Transvaal Command Signal Unit on 9 March 1976 and finally to Western Province Signal Unit on 1 January 1989.

Pierre did border duty from 9 June 1980 for three months and was thus awarded the Pro Patria Medal. On 1 December 1989 he was awarded his 10 year Good Service Medal. Pierre joined 71 Signal Unit on 30 March 1995 where he is still serving. He was awarded his 20 year Good Service Medal on 14 April 2015.

Pierre is a very active and dedicated member of the Management Committee of the Signals Association. He also currently serves on the Warrant Officers’ Association of the Western Cape and on the Management Committee of the SA Legion.

He has been married to Ramona for the past 40 years and they have a 33 year old son Charl who is a keen Photographer working a Digital Strategist for an IT company.

Robbie Roberts - Chairman 29/03/2005 to 19/03/2012 and from 25/03/2013 to present

William Alexander (Robbie) Roberts was born in Parow on 16 February 1947. He left school at the end of 1962 and started working at the Department of Posts and Telecommunications at the beginning of 1963 whist studying part-time for his matric, which he successfully obtained in 1965.

In order to return to Cape Town from Pretoria where he served in the office of the Postmaster General, he left the services of the Department of Posts and Telecommunications in 1969, where after he joined Chrysler Motor Company in Cape Town. When Chrysler decided to relocate to Pretoria, Robbie joined Markhams Clothing Retail Company as a credit manager.

In January 1976 he commenced employment with the Industrial Council for the Cape Clothing Manufacturing Industry where he worked his way up the ladder to eventually become the National General Secretary (CEO) of the National Bargaining Council for the Clothing Manufacturing Industry in South Africa. He retired on 30 June 2005 after more than 30 years’ service.

With regard to Robbie’s military background, he underwent his basic military training at 1 Signal Regiment in Voortrekkerhoogte in 1965. He progressed through the ranks, first to Corporal, then Sergeant, later Staff Sergeant before he became Warrant Officer in the NCO ranks. He then accepted Commission as a Lieutenant, later Captain, thereafter Major and eventually Lieutenant Colonel, which rank he held until he retired as Officer Commanding of 71 Signal Unit (the subsequent name change of 3 Signal Squadron) on 31 May 2005. He served for a total of 40 years in the Military including serving as the Officer Commanding of the Unit for the last ten years before he retired.

Robbie has been awarded the Pro Patria Medal, the Johan Chard Medal for 12 years’ service, the John Chard Decoration for 20 years’ service and the Bar thereto for 30 years’ service. He was also awarded the Military Merit Medal and the Southern Cross Medal which is granted to officers of the SANDF who have delivered exceptional meritorious service and particular devotion to duty.

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