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"Government Gazette Extraordinary,"
Pretoria, October 22, 1900

No. 24 of 1900.


Organization of South African Constabulary.

Whereas it is expedient to organize, establish, and regulate a force for the better protection of life and property in the Transvaal and Orange River Colony, to be called the "South African Constabulary."
Now therefore, I, Frederick Sleigh, Baron Roberts of Kandahar and Waterford, K.P., G.C.B.,G.C.S.I., G.C.I.E., V.C., Field Marshal, Commander-in-Chief of Her Majesty's Forces in South Africa do proclaim, declare and make known:
1. An armed and mounted force shall be established in the Transvaal and Orange River Colony, and known as the "South African Constabulary."
2. The members of the said force shall be sworn before a Justice of the Peace, or Officer empowered by the Inspector-General to administer the oath, to act as a police in and throughout the Transvaal and Orange River Colony for preserving the peace and preventing crimes, and apprehending offenders against the peace; and also as a military force for the defence of the Colonies. In addition to their ordinary duties in the Transvaal or Orange River Colony, the members of the force may be called upon to serve as a military or police force in any part of South Africa.
3. The said force shall be under the command of Field Officers, to be styled Lieutenant-Colonel, and other Officers to be styled Major, Captain, and Lieutenant respectively, to be from time to time appointed as herinafter provided; and all such Officers shall be under and subject to, the orders and command of the Inspector-General of the said Constabulary, to whom such Field Officers shall from time to time, as occasion may require, or whenever they shall be called upon so to do by the said Inspector-General, report on the condition of the force under their command, and on all matters of importance connected therewith, and shall consult and be guided by the advice of the said Inspector-General in respect of the subjects of such reports. It shall be competent for the Inspector-General to appoint one or more of the Field Officers of the force to be Assistant Inspector-General.
4. The Governor, Administrator, or other person for the time being responsible for the administration of the Transvaal and Orange River Colony (hereinafter call the Governor) shall, by warrant under his hand, appoint the Field Officers in the preceding section mentioned, and such other Officers as he may deem expedient for the general superintendence and management of the said force, and may from time to time displace and remove such Officers and appoint other in their places to him shall seem meet: provided that no officer so appointed shall be promoted to any higher grade than that to which he was first nominated without passing the satisfactory examination in such subjects as the Governor shall from time to time settle and appoint, and before such examiners as the Governor shall from time to time nominate.
5. The Inspector-General shall from time to time make such regulations respecting the enlistment, discipline, discharge, training, arms and accoutrements, clothing and equipment, of such force, and respecting all other matters connected therewith as may be required for promoting the discipline and efficiency thereof, and shall also direct the employment and distribution of the said force, within or without the boundaries of the Transvaal or Orange River Colony, as to him shall seem meet, under the direction of the Governor.
6. It shall be the duty of the Field and other Officers of the said force to suppress all tumults, riots and affrays, or breaches of the piece in any part of the Transvaal or Orange River Colony where they may be on duty, and to assist in the defence of the Transvaal and Orange River Colony, and to discharge military duties in connection therewith when called upon so to do.
7. The members of the said force so sworn as aforsaid throughout the Transvaal and Orange River Colony shall have such powers and privileges and shall be liable to all such duties and responsibilities as and Police Officers or Constables may by law have, or be liable to and shall obey all lawful directions touching the execution of their office which they may from time to time receive from their officers.


8. Any member of the force who may be charged with the offence of contravening any regulation which may be made, under and by virtue of this Proclamation, or any of the offenses in the schedule hereto, may be tried by and before: - 1. Any of the superior Courts of Law in the Transvaal or Orange River Colony within the jurisdiction of which such offence shall have been committed. 2. The Court of the Magistrate of the district in which such offence has been committed; or 3. A board of Officers as hereinafter mentioned. And shall, upon conviction, be liable to be punished as follows:--

1. If the conviction shall be before any of the said superior Courts suchCourt may sentence the offender to be imprisoned with or without hard labour for a period not exceeding five years, or to pay a fine not exceeding one hundred pounds and in default of payment thereof, to be imprisoned with or without hard labour for any period not exceeding one year; or to both such fine and such imprisonment.
2. If the conviction shall be before a Court of Magistrate, such Court may sentence the offender to pay a fine not exceeding twenty pounds, and in default of payment thereof, to be imprisoned with or without hard labour for any period not exceeding six months; or to be imprisoned as aforesaid without the infliction of any fine; or both such fine and such imprisonment.
3. If the conviction shall be by a Board of Officers, such Board may sentence the offender as mentioned in the last preceding paragraph.

9. In case any non-commissioned officer or private shall offend against any such regulation as aforesaid, it shall be lawful for any officer commanding a troop, or any officer commanding a detachment of the said force, to stop from the pay of such offender any sum not exceeding five pounds, or sentence him to imprisonment with or without hard labour for any period not exceeding fourteen days, or to sentence him to such punishment as may be provided on that behalf in any such regulation as aforesaid, or such officer may take proceedings for the purpose of such offender being tried under the eighth section of this proclamation: Provided that any officer who shall try any offender under the provisions of this section shall forthwith after such trial forward the proceedings in, and full particulars of, the case to the field officer commanding the wing in which such offender is serving.

10. Upon any member of the force being charged with having committed any of the offenses in this proclamation mentioned, the charge, in case the offence shall not have been summarily dealt with under the last preceding section, shall be forthwith reported to the officer in command of the troop or detachment to which such offender is then attached, who shall thereupon forth with report the particulars of the case to the field officer of his wing of the force, who shall, having regard to the said particulars and the nature and magnitude of the offence, direct whether the offender shall be proceeded against before a Board of Officers as aforesaid, before the Court of Magistrate having jurisdiction in the case, or (as to offenses in the eighth section thereof mentioned) before a superior Court as aforesaid: Provided that nothing herein contained shall prevent the said officer or the field officer from ordering the discharge of any prisoner in case it appears to him that there are not sufficient grounds for putting such prisoner upon his trial; and if the proceedings are directed to be before a superior Court, or before a Court of Magistrate, they shall be the same in all respects as in the case of an ordinary offender or supposed offender against the law, and the said offender shall be in the same plight and condition as any other person charged with criminal offence.

11. The Board of Officers hereinbefore mentioned shall consist of not less than three officers of the said force, of whom the field officer commanding the wing in which the accused is serving may be one; and the said officers shall be selected and summoned by the field officer. The said field officer, if present, and if not, the senior officer present, shall be the President of such Board, and the decision of the majority of the members of such Board shall be deemed to be the decision of such Board: Provided that, in case the members of the said Board shall be equally divided in opinion, the decision of the President shall be deemed to be the decision of the Board.

12. The proceedings before and at any trial by a Board of Officers shall, except as otherwise herein mentioned, as near as may be, be the same as those prescribed for criminal proceedings before the Lower Courts; and all the evidence which maybe given before such Board shall be taken down in writing by the President or by order of the said President by a shorthand writer duly sworn by the said President, who shall extend the same in ordinary writing, and his testimony shall at some time thereafter be read over to the witness and signed by him; the said President shall also swear the witnesses, and any person so sworn who shall wilfully and corruptly give false evidence before any such Board shall be deemed to be guilty of the crime of perjury, and upon conviction thereof shall suffer any punishment by Law provided for that crime.

13. Every person who may be required to give or produce evidence in any case pending before any such Board shall be summoned in writing, by any officer of the said force ; and all witnesses so duly summoned, who shall not attend, or attending shall refuse to be sworn, or being sworn shall refuse to give evidence, or not produce the documents under their power or control required to be produced by them, or to answer all such questions as the said Board may legally demand of them, shall be liable to be dealt with by such Board in like manner as if such witness had been a witness duly summoned to appear before a Magistrate in a criminal case pending in the Court of such Magistrate.

14. When and as often as any such Board as aforesaid shall sentence any offender under this Proclamation to be imprisoned, with or without hard labour, for any period exceeding fourteen days, or to pay a fine exceeding one pound, the President of such Board shall forthwith, after pronouncing such sentence, transmit the original proceedings in the case, together with such remarks, if any, as he may desire to append, to the Commandant-General.

15. All offenders arrested for any offence under this Proclamation, and all offenders sentenced to imprisonment by any officer or Board of Officers as aforesaid, may be imprisoned in any building set apart as a guard room or police prison by order of the field officer commanding : Provided that, in case the sentence shall exceed fourteen days' imprisonment, with or without hard labour, the person convicted shall be removed to the nearest public gaol, there to undergo such sentence, and when so removed he shall be in the same plight and condition as if the sentence had been a sentence of one of the ordinary Courts of Law of the Transvaal or Orange River Colony : And provided also, that so long as any man shall be imprisoned in any guard-room or prison as aforesaid, the same shall as to such offender be deemed to be a public gaol, but every Board of Officers aforesaid and the Magistrate of the district shall have the like jurisdiction and powers as to offenses committed by any such prisoner while imprisoned in any such guardroom or prison as are given to the Magistrate of the district, as to the public goals within his district.

16. No period during which any offender shall be imprisoned for any offence for which he shall be afterwards convicted, or during which he shall be imprisoned under a sentence of any Court or Board as aforesaid, shall be reckoned for any purpose as part of the period of service of such offender unless the Court or Board aforesaid ordering such imprisonment shall otherwise direct.

17. Nothing in this Proclamation contained shall prevent any offender from being prosecuted otherwise than under the provisions of the Proclamation in all cases in which he would by law, without this Proclamation, be liable to such prosecution ; but no member of the said force acquitted or convicted of any crime or offence under the provisions of this Proclamation, shall be liable to be again tried for the same crime or offence : Provided that nothing herein contained shall prevent a member of the said force who has been convicted from being dismissed from the said force or reduced in rank therein by an officer empowered to dismiss.

18. It shall be lawful for the said field officers, respectively, to suspend, degrade, or dismiss from his employment any non-commissioned officer or private whom he shall think remiss or negligent in the execution of his duty, or otherwise unfit for the same; and when any such non-commissioned officer or private shall be so dismissed, or shall otherwise cease to belong to the said force, all powers and authorities vested in him by virtue of this Proclamation shall cease and determine: Provided, however, that no sentence of dismissal shall take effect unless and until the same be confirmed by the Inspector-General of the South African Constabulary or officer acting for the time being in that capacity.


19. If any licensed or unlicensed dealer in wines and spirits, or any intoxicating liquors shall knowingly harbour or entertain any man belonging to the said force, or permit such man to abide or remain in his house, shop, room or other place, during any part of the time appointed for his being on duty elsewhere, every such dealer shall for a first offence, forfeit and pay any sum not exceeding ten pounds, to be recovered in a summary way; and for a second or subsequent offence shall be liable, beside such penalty, to imprisonment for any period not exceeding one month, with or without hard labour.

20. If any person shall, in consequence of any sale, pledge or other disposition made by any member of the said force, in contravention of paragraph No.17 of the schedule to this Proclamation, knowingly receive or have any animal, article, matter or thing in the said section mentioned, such person shall incur and be liable to a fine not exceeding twenty pounds, and in default of payment thereof, shall be liable to be kept imprisoned and kept at hard labour for any period not exceeding three months unless such fine be sooner paid.

21. No animal, article, matter, or thing mentioned in paragraph seventeen in the schedule to this Proclamation, and therein forbidden to be sold pledges, or otherwise disposed of, shall be capable of being seized or attached by or under writ of execution which may be sued out against any member of the said force, nor shall the same pass by or under any order made for the sequestration of the estate of any such member.

22. It shall be lawful for the Governor to award to any of the men belonging to the said force, such sum of money as to him shall seem meet, as a reward for extraordinary diligence or exertion, or as a compensation for wounds or severe injuries received in the performance of their duty, or as an allowance to such of them as shall be disabled by bodily injury received, or shall by worn out by length of service.

23. For the protection of persons acting in the execution of this Proclamation, all actions and prosecutions to be commenced against any person for anything done in pursuance of the Proclamation shall be commenced within four calendar months after the cause of the action shall have arisen, or offence be committed, and not otherwise; and notice in writing of such action and of the cause thereof, shall be given to the defendant one calendar month, at least, before the commencement of the action; and if a verdict shall be given for the defendant, or the plaintiff be non-suited, or discontinue any such action after issue joined, or if, upon exception, or otherwise, judgment shall be given against the plaintiff, the defendant shall recover his full costs and between attorney and client.

24. Any Officer, Non-Commissioned Officer or Member of the South African Constabulary who, by his negligence, causes any loss or damage to Government property under his charge or control, shall be liable to make good such damage or loss, over and above any penalty imposed by this Proclamation, or by any regulation thereunder framed. If the loss amounts to five pounds, or less, the matter may be investigated by any officer commanding a troop or detachment, who may impose a fine to the amount of five pounds, or sentence him to imprisonment with or without hard labour for a period not exceeding fourteen days; but if the loss amounts to more than five pounds but less than twenty pounds it must be dealt with by a Magistrate or Board of Officers, who can impose a fine to the amount of the loss, or sentence him to a term of imprisonment with or without hard labour for a period not exceeding six months; and if the loss be more than twenty pounds it must be dealt with by a Superior Court, which can impose a fine to the extent of the loss, or sentence him to a term of imprisonment with or without hard labour for a period not exceeding one year.


1. Beginning or inciting, causing or joining in any mutiny or sedition.

2. Being present at any mutiny or sedition, and not using his utmost endeavour to suppress the same.

3. Conspiring with any persons to cause mutiny or sedition.

4. Knowing or any mutiny or sedition, and not without delay giving information thereof to his immediate commanding officer.

5. Striking or offering violence, or using threatening or insubordinate language to a superior officer in the force, being in the execution of his duty.

6. Disobeying the lawful command of a superior officer in the force.

7. During the period for which he shall have engaged to serve in the said force deserting from the same or refusing to serve therein or advising or persuading any other member said force to desert from the same, or knowingly receiving or entertaining any deserter, and not immediately on discovery giving information to his commanding officer, or taking other means to cause such deserter to be apprehended.

8. Misbehaving before the enemy, or shamefully abandoning or delivering up any fort, post, camp, station or guard committed to his charge, or which it was his duty to defend, or inciting any other person to do so.

9. Discharging any fire-arms, making any signal, or by other means whatsoever, intentionally occasioning false alarm in action, camp or quarters.

10. Casting away his arms in the presence of an enemy.

11. Being, while a sentinel, found sleeping on his post, or leaving the same before being regularly relieved.

12. Disclosing, verbally or in writing, the numbers, position or preparations of the force or forces to which he is attached and by such disclosure, producing effects injurious to the service to which he belongs.

13. Being in the command of a guard, picquet or patrol, and without proper authority releasing any prisoner committed to his charge, or suffering him to escape.

14. Drunkenness.

15. Malingering, deigning or producing disease or infirmity or wilfully maiming or injuring himself or another member of the force, whether at the instance of such other member or not or causing himself to be maimed or injured by any other person, with intent thereby to render himself or such other member, unfit for service.

16. Taking any bribe or gratuity whatever with reference to any duty, imposed upon him, or wilfully neglecting to execute any warrant entrusted to him.

17. Selling, pledging or otherwise disposing of any horse, saddle, bridle, gun, clothing, ammunition or other article of equipment, which by the regulations of the said force for the time being he shall be required to keep and possess.

18. Conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline

Given under my Hand and Sea at Pretoria this Twenty-Second day of October, One Thousand Nine Hundred,


Commanding-in-Chief, South Africa

Enclosure B in No. 24 of 1900



1. A permanent local Mounted Force will be formed for the maintenance of order and public security in the Transvaal and Orange River Colony.

2. The Force will be styled the South African Constabulary.

3. It will have its headquarters in Pretoria, and will act as District Mounted Police in times of peace, and as a Military Force in times of war. It will be available for service in any part of British South Africa. Candidates who are N.C.O.'s or men of the Imperial Regular Forces must have completed their Colours Service.

4. The term or engagement on full pay will be for three years, with the possibility for N.C.O.'s and men of re-engaging on increased pay, or of retiring to the Constabulary Reserve at the end of that period. (for particulars see "Conditions of Service," etc).

5. The rates of pay will be liberal, so that a superior class of men will find it worth while to engage.

6. Promotion will be by merit. Commissions will be obtainable from the ranks.



7. Engagement for not less than three years. Officers from the Imperial Army will be temporarily employed with the force on probation for three months, after which, if satisfactory, application will be made for them to be seconded from their regiment. Other candidates for Commissions will not be definitely appointed till they have served for three months to the satisfaction of the Inspector-General.


8. Colonel Commanding Division............................1,200 per annum
Lieutenant Colonel.....................................1,000 per annum
Major (according to importance of post)...........750 to 900 per annum
Captain (ditto-ditto).............................510 to 600 per annum
Lieutenant........................................23s to 25s per diem
2nd Lieutenant...........................................20s per diem


9. Office and Contingent Allowances included in above rates. Travel allowances, 15s a day when on duty out of district.

10. Officers will find their own uniform, arms and equipment. Medical attendance, rations, and forage will be provided by the Government. Officers below the rank of Field Officer will be entitled to one Government horse free. Other Officers may purchase Government horses by instalments.


11. Officers will subscribe to the "Mess and Band Funds" on the principles laid down in Army Regulations.


12. Promotion will be by selection. A knowledge of colloquial Dutch will count in an Officer's favour when he is being considered for promotion.


13. Candidates must not be under 20 or over 35 years of age.

PAY:- s d
14. Superintendent Warrant officers...........15 0 per diem
Sergeant-Major (Staff Sergt)..............10 0 per diem
Sergeant (1st Class Sergeant)............. 9 0 per diem
2nd Class Sergeant........................ 8 0 per diem
Corporal.................................. 7 6 per diem
1st Class Trooper......................... 7 0 per diem
2nd Class Trooper......................... 6 0 per diem
3rd Class Trooper......................... 5 0 per diem


15. In addition to above rates, an allowance will be granted to compensate for extra high market prices to all N.C.O.'s and men while stationed north of the Vaal river, within a radius of 50 miles from Johannesburg. The amount of such allowance will be subject to revision every six months. It is provisionally fixed at two shillings per diem. In exceptional cases where rations cannot be supplied, a ration allowance will be made of 2s per diem. Travelling allowances from 5s a day when travelling on duty out of district.


16. Pay as well as promotion, will be largely according to a man's efficiency and behaviour, troopers being divided into three classes, and N.C.O.'s into four, for this purpose. Promotion from one class to another among troopers depends on their qualifying in Constabulary duties, musketry, signalling, language, and other tests, and on their continuing, efficient in these subjects. Men of all grades will enter at the lowest pay for their grade. Promotion in the N.C.O.'s ranks will, as a general rule, only be granted to those who qualify in colloquial Dutch.


17. A limited number of Army Reservists will be allowed to engage in the Corps. Such appointments will, by preference, be given to artificers, such as farriers, wheelers, armourers, saddlers, saddle-tree makers, pioneers, R.E. masons and carpenters, telegraphists, signallers, gunners, N.C.O.'s and others. Should they be on the married roll, their wives and families will be brought out free, but application for this privilege must be made within six weeks of engaging in the Corps. When a wife or family has thus been brought out, Government will not undertake to take them or the man home again.


18. On completion of the first three year's service, a man if approved by the O.C. Division, re-engage for a further term at 3d. a day extra pay for two years. On completion of this (five years), he may re-engage for a further service by the year, if the O.C. Division approves, at 6d. a day for every additional year until the total increase of pay for re-engagement shall have reached 2s per diem.


19. Rations, horse, forage, clothing, equipment, arms, quarters, medical attendance &c., are supplied free.


20. A N.C.O. or man may be discharged at any time by order of the O.C. Division with or without gratuity. A discharge may be purchased with the consent of the O.C. Division at j 20 during the first year, or j 15 during the second year of service, j 10 during the third.


21. Any N.C.O. Or trooper may, with the approval of his C.O., Be transferred to the Constabulary Reserve, providing that there is a vacancy for him at the end of his first engagement, or if he re-engages, at the end of any period or re-engagement up to the completion of five years from his first entry into the service. Every man transferred to the Constabulary Reserve shall remain in it, and have his permanent residence in the Orange River Colony or Transvaal, unless discharged, up to the end of seven years from the date of his first entry into the service. A man wishing to purchase his discharge from the Constabulary Reserve my do so on payment of 12 at any period of his service in the Reserve. He will receive, while in the Constabulary Reserve, pay at the rate of j 1 per month. He will be liable to be called out annually for a short period of training and will be liable to be called out for active service at any time, by proclamation of the Administrator, Governor, or Colony, declaring the existence of a state of war or of such serious menace to the peace as to render mobilization necessary. While in training, or on active service, he will receive full pat at the same rate which he was enjoying when transferred to the Constabulary Reserve.

22. In addition to their pay, Constabulary Reservists, if they desire to settle on the land, will receive special consideration in any Government aided scheme of settlement. Proposals are at present under consideration whereby suitable settlers may be assisted to acquire land and be aided at starting by Government advances, the purchase price and capital advanced being re-payable by instalments on easy terms. If any plan of this kind is found practicable, a certain number of farms annually will be offered, in the first instance, to members of the South African Constabulary who, having borne a good character, may be desirous of being transferred to the Constabulary Reserve with a view to actually settling on the land as farmers.

Similar privileges will be extended to N.C.O.'s and men who may quit the South African Constabulary after five or more years' continuous service, being a good character. Any man having served at least five years continuously in the South African Constabulary (not including Constabulary Reserve Service), with a good character, will be entitled on retiring to a gratuity of one months pay for every year of service.


23. Men on the Constabulary Reserves may, with approval of Officer Commanding Division, be taken on to full pay again at any time for a term of two years at 3d a day extra pay.

23A. Men desirous of marrying while in the South African Constabulary must first obtain the sanction of the O.C. Division to their doing so. They will then be entitled to an allowance to cover lodging and other expenses, such as fuel, light, rations &c., at the consolidated rate of 3s a day.


24. Men must, as far as possible, be good riders and good shots, strictly sober, and actually recommended by their C.O.'s or Employers and medically fit.

26. Where a number of men join from one corps or place, they will be squadded as far as possible together in the South African Constabulary.

27. They will be engaged under Proclamation No. 24 of 22nd October, 1900 and the above condition of service.


29. Leave of absence will, where possible, be granted to all ranks for one month in each year cumulative, on full pay; special conditions ruling shooting leave and leave to England or out of South Africa. After four years without leave, six months' full pay will be granted.

Inspector-General South African Constabulary
Pretoria, 20th October, 1900
Life Member
Past-President Calgary
Military Historical Society
O.M.R.S. 1591

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