Patron - Since 1986, the (state) president has been the patron of each of the National Orders and, as such, is a member of the first class of each order for the duration of his presidency.
PB - Post-nominal letters for iPhrothiya yeBhronzi.
PCF - Post-nominal letters for (i) the SAP Cross for Bravery - 1st Type, and (ii) the SAP Cross for Bravery - 2nd Type ("Praefecturae Crux Fortitudinis").
PCFG - Post-nominal letters for the SAP Cross for Bravery (both types) ("Praefecturae Crux Fortitudinis Gold").
PCFS Post-nominal letters for (i) the SAP Cross for Bravery: Silver, and (ii) the SAPS Silver Cross for Bravery.
Penalties - Various Acts of Parliament prescribe fines for wearing decorations and medals (or imitations of them) to which one is not entitled. In the 1950s, the fines ranged from £25 to £100, but they were later increased to amounts ranging from R100 up to R1000. The current defence and police Acts do not specify the amounts of the fines. (Has anyone ever actually been convicted and fined?)
Permanent Force - see Regular Force.
Permanent Force Good Service Medal - Instituted in 1952 as the Union Medal, and renamed when South Africa became a republic in 1961, this was awarded to members of the Permanent Force (all ranks) after 18 years exemplary service. It was superseded by the SADF Good Service Medal in 1975.
PG - Post-nominal letters for iPhrothiya yeGolide.
PMD - Post-nominal letters for the Pro Merito Decoration.
PMM - Post-nominal letters for the Pro Merito Medal (both types).
Police Decorations and Medals - South Africa has had a host of different police organisations since the honours system was established in 1894. Most of them have had decorations and medals. Since the 1960s, police medals have generally comprised (a) decorations for bravery, (b) decorations for outstanding service (usually weighted in favour of senior officers), (c) medals for combating terrorism, (d) commemorative medals to mark the establishment of police forces and significant anniversaries, and (e) long service medals.
From the 1930s until the amalgamation of all the police forces in 1994-95, each organisation had its own series of awards: SA Police (1923-63, 1963-2004), SA Railways Police Force (1934-66, 1966-80, 1980-86), Transkei Police (1976-94), Ciskei Police (1981-94), KwaZulu Police (c1982-94), Bophuthatswana Police (c1983-94), Gazankulu Police (c1983-94), QwaQwa Police (1985-94), Venda Police (1985-94), KaNgwane Police (1986), KwaNdebele Police (1987-94), Lebowa Police (1990-94), and SA Police Service (2004- ).
The former South West Africa Police also had its own awards (1981-89).
Police Legislation - The SA Police Act 1912 authorised the governor-general to issue regulations for the award of SA Police medals. This was used to institute the Police Good Service Medal in 1923.
It was superseded by the Police Act 1958, which authorised the governor-general to institute and award SAP decorations and medals, and to issue regulations. This authority passed to the state president in 1961 and the SAP awards instituted between 1963 and 1989 were created under this Act.
The 1958 Act has been superseded by the SA Police Service Act 1995, which authorises the president to institute and award SA Police Service decorations and medals and to issue regulations. The 2004 SAPS awards were created under this Act.
Police Good Service Medal - Instituted in 1923 as a dual-purpose award for (i) gallantry or distinguished conduct, and (ii) 18 years exemplary service. Modeled on the Prisons Good service Medal, it was reserved for non-commissioned officers and constables of the SA Police, and most awards were granted for long service. The medal was superseded by the SAP Medal for Faithful Service in 1963. From 1967 to 1990, the medal was ranked, in the table of precedence, among British awards, but since 1990 it has ranked again among South African awards.
Posthumous Awards - Most South African orders, decorations and medals can be awarded posthumously. Since 1994, national orders have been posthumously awarded to many long-dead human rights campaigners, anti-apartheid activists, and others who were not recognised by the government in their lifetimes.
Post-Nominal Letters - South Africa has inherited the British practice of authorising recipients of orders and decorations to use post-nominal letters to indicate their awards. They are provided for in the warrants which institute the awards concerned. Post-nominal letters are usually the initials of the name of the order or decoration but, in an effort to avoid having different sets of initials in English and Afrikaans, some names were translated into Latin and post-nominal letters were derived from those translations. This practice has been continued with the new (2004) SA Police service decorations. For the new (2003) SA National Defence Force decorations, on the other hand, some of the names and post-nominal letters are in Sotho, some in Xhosa, and one is in English.
Precedence - The precedence of orders, decorations and medals has changed several times over the years. The British table of precedence was used until 1954, when the first South African table was issued. This provided for the following sequence: (a) Victoria Cross, (b) post-1952 South African awards, (c) other British (including pre-1952 South African) awards, and (d) foreign awards.
The post-1952 South African awards were grouped into: (i) decorations, (ii) campaign medals, (iii) commemorative medals, and (iv) long service medals.
A new table of precedence was issued in 1967, six years after South Africa had become a republic: (a) post-1952 South African awards, (b) other British (including pre-1952 South African awards), (c) foreign awards, and (d) awards for "unremunerated voluntary services". It made no mention of the VC which, presumably, was thereafter supposed to be worn after the post-1952 South African awards, though the only VC recipient still serving evidently continued to wear it in first place.
The post-1952 South African awards were now grouped into: (i) decorations, (ii) campaign medals, (iii) commemorative medals, (iv) long service medals, and (v) shooting medals. Later, state awards for sports achievements were inserted between long service medals and shooting medals.
During the 1970s and '80s, when the honours system was reorganised and enlarged, the SA Defence Force and other services used their own in-house tables of precedence and, as few people held awards from more than one source, there was little practical need for an integrated list. Until 1990, the police and railways police placed their campaign medals after long service medals, and their commemorative medals at the very end of the row.
A new, integrated, table of precedence, was issued in 1993. It provided for: (a) post-1952 South African awards, (b) British (including pre-1952 South African) awards, (c) foreign awards (including orders of chivalry, and homeland awards)*, (d) life-saving, fire brigade, local authority, and statutory body awards**, and (e) private institution (e.g. Red Cross, Boy Scouts) awards.**
The table became obsolete the following year, when the country was reconstituted and the homelands were reincorporated into the Republic, making their awards "South African" instead of "foreign". However, it was not until 2005 that a new table of precedence to consolidate them. The sequence is now: (a) post-1952 South African and homeland awards, (b) British (including pre-1952 South African) awards, (c) foreign awards (including orders of chivalry and United Nations medals)*, (d) international organisation awards*, (e) provincial, local authority and statutory body awards**, and (f) private institution' awards***
* Not to be worn without presidential approval.
** Not to be worn with national awards without presidential approval.
*** Not to be worn with official awards.
The 2005 table is available on the government website.
Premier of the Western Cape - The head of the Western Cape provincial government is the authority who confers the Western Cape Provincial Honours instituted in 1999.
President - Since 1994, South Africa's head of state and government - and fount of honour - has been the president. He is ex officio patron of each of the National Orders, and entitled to wear the insignia of the highest class of each for the duration of his presidency.
President's Decoration for Distinguished Service - Instituted in 1987 for distinguished service by public service directors-general (permanent heads of departments). It was last awarded in 1992 and appears to be obsolete. Only 11 decorations were awarded.
Presidential Sports Award - Instituted in 1994 as the RSA President's Sports Award, and given its present name in 1996, this is awarded annually to the country's sports achievers. It has two classes: gold and silver.
Pretoria Citizens' Service Medal - Issued by the Pretoria city council in 1919, to citizens who had served in World War I. Although unofficial, and not allowed to be worn with official medals, it is well known in collecting circles.
Prime Minister's Award - Authorised in 1978, this gold lapel badge was awarded to members of the Public Service after 40 years service. It lapsed in 1984.
Prince Arthur of Connaught - Governor-general 1920-24. He instituted the medals for Boer War veterans (1920), the Prisons Good Service Medal (1922), and the Police Good Service Medal (1923).
Prisons - see Correctional Services
Prisons Good Service Medal - see Faithful Service Medal of the Prisons Department
Prisons Legislation - The Prisons & Reformatories Act 1911 authorised the governor-general to issue regulations for the award of Prisons Department medals. It was used to institute the Prisons Good Service Medal in 1922.
The Act was superseded by the Prisons Act 1959, which authorised the governor-general to institute decorations and medals for the SA Prisons Service. This authority passed to the state president in 1961, and was used to institute the 1968 and 1980 series of SAPS awards. As prisons awards were abolished in 1996, the current Correctional Services Act does not provide for them.
Pro Merito Decoration (PMD) - This 1st-level military decoration was instituted in 1975, to recognise outstanding service by warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and men. It was usually granted only to those who had already received the Pro Merito Medal. The decoration was superseded by iPhrothiya yeGolide in 2003.
Pro Merito Medal (PMM) (1st Type) - Instituted in 1967, this military medal was awarded to "other ranks"for outstanding devotion to duty. They had previously been eligible for the Southern Cross Medal. The medal was replaced by a new award of the same name in 1975.
Pro Merito Medal (PMM) (2nd Type) - This 2nd-level decoration, instituted in 1975, was awarded to SA Defence Force "other ranks" who rendered exceptionally meritorious service and who, in most instances, had already received the Military Merit Medal. It was superseded by iPhrothiya yeSiliva in 2003.
Pro Patria Medal - This once ubiquitous campaign medal was instituted in 1974 for SA Defence Force operations in defence of the Republic or for the prevention or suppression of terrorism. It was awarded for service in the Border War, the 1975-76 and 1987-88 Angola campaigns, and other operations between 1966 and 1989.
Pro Virtute Decoration (PVD) - A military decoration instituted in 1987 for distinguished conduct and exceptional combat leadership by SA Defence Force officers. It was discontinued in 2003.
Pro Virtute Medal (PVM) - Also instituted in 1987, this military decoration was for warrant officers, non-commissioend officers and men for distinguished conduct and exceptional combat leadership. It was discontinued in 2003. As it does not appear on the 2005 table of precedence it was presumably never awarded.
Protea - The protea made its first medallic appearance on the South Africa Medal issued by the British government in 1854. It also appeared on the Cape of Good Hope General Service Medal (1900), and in World War II a bronze protea emblem was introduced for recipients of the King's Commendation. This established it as a symbol of merit, and it was later used as the emblem of the Commendation by the CSADF (1968) and on several other decorations. It is currently the theme of the defence force's iPhrothiya yeGolide, iPhrothiya yeSiliva and iPhrothiya yeBhronzi. Since 1961, the protea has been the official national flower.
Provincial Honours - Since 1994, the nine provinces have been allowed to adopt their own constitutions, but only two - the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal - have done so. The Western Cape's authorised the provincial government to establish its own honours, which it duly did in 1999. They are the only provincial honours in South Africa. The 2005 table of precedence gives them a very low ranking: lumped together with municipal medals, after all other South African awards, and after British, foreign, and international organisation awards. They may not be worn together with national awards unless presidential permission is obtained (which suggests national government disapproval of the concept of provincial honours).
PS - Post-nominal letters for iPhrothiya yeSiliva.
Public Service - The South African civil service, established in 1910 in succession to the colonial civil services. Three awards were instituted for its members: the Prime Minister's Award (1978), the Service Award (1978), and the President's Decoration for Distinguished Service (1987).
PVD - Post-nominal letters for the Pro Virtute Decoration.
PVM - Post-nominal letters for the Pro Virtute Medal.
Queen - From 1837 to 1901 and again from 1952 to 1961, South Africa's head of state - and fount of honour - was the British queen.
Queen Elizabeth II - Head of state 1952-61. She instituted the 1952 Union Defence Forces decorations and medals. Her effigy was depicted on the Queen's Medal for Bravery and the Queen's Police Medal, and her E II R cipher was displayed on the reverses of all the post-1952 defence force decorations and medals. It was removed when South Africa became a republic in 1961.
Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal - Issued to mark the Queen's coronation in 1953. As South Africa had established her own honours system, this medal was given precedence as a South African award, even though it originated in the United Kingdom.
Queen Victoria - Head of state 1837-1901. In 1894, she authorised colonial governments (including the Cape and Natal) to adopt and issue various military medals. She instituted the Cape of Good Hope General Service Medal (1900) - the last medal of her long reign. Her effigy appeared on it and on the Volunteer Long Service Medal and (possibly) on early issues of the Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal, and her VRI cipher was displayed on the Volunteer Officers' Decoration and (possibly) on the early issues of the Colonial Auxiliary Forces Officer's Decoration.
Queen's Medal for Bravery - A civilian decoration instituted in 1939 as the King's Medal for Bravery, to fill the gap left by the dropping of the Albert and Edward Medals by the South African government in 1934. It was awarded for bravery in saving life or property and came in two classes (gold and silver). Renamed the Queen's Medal for Bravery in 1952, it lapsed when the republic was established in 1961 and was revived as the Woltemade Decoration for Bravery in 1970.
Queen's Medal for Champion Shots - This British medal was awarded annually from 1924 to 1938 and from 1946 to 1961, to the overall winner of the defence force shooting championships. It was superseded by the Commandant-General's Medal (later the SADF Champion Shot Medal). Until 2005, it ranked among British medals, but the new table of precedence has included it among the post-1952 South African medals.
QwaQwa - One of the former African homelands inside South Africa. It was self-governing from 1972 to 1994. QwaQwa had its own police force, and its own series of police decorations and medals, which became obsolete when the homeland was reincorporated into South Africa in 1994.
Railways & Harbours Legislation - The Railways & Harbours Regulation, Control and Management Act 1916 authorised the governor-general to issue regulations concerning railways police medals. The Railways Police Good Service Medal was instituted under this Act in 1934.
Its successor, the Railways & Harbours Service Act 1960, as amended, authorised the governor-general (from 1961, state president) to institute railways police decorations and medals. The 1966 and 1980 awards were created under this Act.
Railways & Harbours Police Long Service & Good Conduct Medal - see Railways Police Good Service Medal.
Railways Police Good Service Medal - This medal was instituted in 1934 as the Railways & Harbours Police Long Service & Good Conduct Medal and was renamed in 1960. Like its prisons and police counterparts, it could be awarded to non-commissioned ranks for either (i) gallant or distinguished conduct, or (ii) 18 years exemplary service. The medal was superseded by the Medal for Faithful Service in the SARPF in 1966. From 1967 to 1990, the medal was ranked, in the table of precedence, among British awards, but since 1990 it has ranked again among South African awards.
Rand Revolt (1922) - A 3-month-long armed uprising by mineworkers in and around Johannesburg, which was eventually crushed by police and military action (including cavalry charges and aerial bombing). Two knighthoods and four King's Police Medals (British issue) were awarded for this episode.
RD - Post-nominal letters for the Emblem for Reserve Force Service ("Reserve Distinction").
Regular Force - Originally the Permanent Force, the full-time element of the SA (National) Defence Force. Established in 1913 in succession to the colonial permanent forces, it had its own long service medals until 2003: the Medal for Long Service & Good Conduct (1896-1939), the Medal for Meritorious Service (1896-1939), the Medal for Long Service & Good Conduct (Military) (1939-52), the PF Good Service Medal (1952-75), and the Good Service Medal (1975-2003).
Regulations - In many instances, the royal or presidential warrant which institutes a decoration or medal is supplemented by regulations, usually issued by a cabinet minister, which sets out administrative and other details concerning the award.
Reserve Force - Originally the Citizen Force, the part-time element of the SA (National) Defence Force. Established in 1913, in succession to the colonial volunteer and militia forces, it had its own long service medals until 2003: the Volunteer Officers' Decoration (1894-1901), Volunteer Long Service Medal (1895-1901), Colonial Auxiliary Forces Officers' Decoration (1900-39), Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal (1900-39), Efficiency Decoration (1939-52), Efficiency Medal (1939-52), Air Efficiency Award (1950-52), John Chard Decoration (1952-2003), and John Chard Medal (1952-2003).
In 1958, the Commandos, which had previously formed part of the CF Reserve, were upgraded to active status as home defence force. They too had their own long service awards: the De Wet Decoration (1965-2003) and the De Wet Medal (1987-2003).
Reverse - The rear side of a badge, decoration or medal. Many are blank (or have the recipient's name inscribed there), or display simply the national coat of arms.
Rhodesia - From 1967 to 1975, SA Police units served in Rhodesia, to support Rhodesian government counter-insurgency operations and to prevent the exiled Umkhonto weSizwe from infiltrating back into South Africa. The SAP Medal for Combating Terrorism was issued for this service. From the MK side, this was the Wankie Campaign which, presumably, is covered by the Operational Medal for Southern Africa.
Ribbon - Orders, decorations and medals are suspended from silk ribbons of distinctive designs. Most are worn on the chest, but some have been designed to be worn around the neck. Most ribbon designs consist of vertical stripes, but one (the Ad Astra Decoration) has diagonal stripes, and those of the new national orders are dotted with symbols.
Ribbons are usually 32mm wide, but some are 36mm or 40mm. Neck ribbons used to be 44mm wide, but most were reduced to 36mm in the 1980s. Sashes of orders ranged from 80mm to 101mm in width.
Ribbon Bar - see Service Ribbon.
RNVR - Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve.
RNVR Medal for Long Service & Good Conduct - A British naval medal, adopted in 1913 for members of the South African Division of the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve who completed 12 years efficient service. It became redundant when the RNVR(SA) was incorporated into the Union Defence Forces in 1942 but was not discontinued until 1949.
RNVR Volunteer Officers' Decoration (VD) - A British naval medal, adopted in 1913 for officers of the South African Division of the RNVR who completed 20 years commissioned service. It too became redundant in 1942 but was not discontinued until 1949.
"Rootie Gong" or "Rootie Medal" - Pre-World War II nickname for the Permanent Force long service medals, which were supposedly "sent up with the rations". "Rootie" is apparently an Indian word for "rations" which entered the Union Defence Forces' vocabulary via the colonial-era British Army garrison.
Rosette - The insignia of the old national orders included a rosette, which could be worn on the lapel, or on the service ribbon. They do not appear to have been widely used.
Royal Cipher - The official monogram of the British monarch, consisting of his or her initials topped by a crown: VRI for Queen Victoria, E VII RI for King Edward VII, GRI for King George V, GRI (different design) for King George VI, and E II R for Queen Elizabeth II. They were displayed on the obverses of the Volunteer Officers' Decoration, the Colonial Auxiliary Forces Officers' Decoration, the RNVR Volunteer Officers' Decoration, and the Efficiency Decoration and, until 1961, on the reverses of the post-1952 defence force decorations and medals.
Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve - A part-time naval reserve established in England in 1903. A South African division was formed in 1913, and its members served in the Royal Navy during World Wars I and II. The RNVR(SA) was incorporated into the Citizen Force of the Union Defence Forces in 1942. It had its own long service medals.
Royal Tour of South Africa Commemorative Medallion - Awarded in 1947 to commemorate King George VI's official tour (with Queen Elizabeth and the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret) of South Africa and Rhodesia. It was given to dignitaries, military and police officers and others. Only those presented to African traditional leaders had ribbons - the others were not designed to be worn.
Royal Warrant - see Warrant.
RSA President's Sports Award - see Presidential Sports Award.
Russian Civil War (1918-21) - More than 500 South African volunteers (individuals, not units) served in British formations which supported the White Russian forces in their ultimately unsuccessful war against the Bolsheviks. Many South Africans received imperial Russian orders and decorations for their services.