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South African Cape Corps - SACC

Fortiter Et Fideliter - Bravely and Faithfully


In 1962 the Government appointed a commission to investigate, report and recommend on the possible utilization of Coloureds in the Defence Force. As a result of their recommendation the Minister of Defence announced in Parliament that with effect from from 3 September 1963 the South African Coloured Corps be established as a Permanent Force Corps of the South African Defence Force.

The Unit was established at Eersterivier with the task of training, instructors, storemen/clerks, drivers, stretcher bearers, hygiene and medical personnel and musicians for service in the unit end posting to other SADF units.

The first batch of 29 recruits commenced their basic training on 3 Sep 1963 and qualified as instructors in Duly 1964. Most of these men have now reached Senior NCO's and WO ranks and some have been commissioned as officers. The Cape Corps Band started their training in 1965 and since then have become the display window of the Corps all over the Republic.

In 1966 the SA Navy decided to employ Coloureds es serving seamen in the Navy. These men were recruited from the trained ranks of the SACC end posted to the Navy. The unit continued with the recruiting of Naval Personnel end their basic training until 1968 when these tasks were taken over by the Navy itself.

Among the members themselves end their community there wee always the desire to have the Cape Corps re-instated under its traditional name. This became a reality when in 1972 the unit was renamed the "Cape Corpe" and the base the Cape Corps Service Battalion at the same time the Corps was given back its traditional "Lady Hope" badge.

The Chief of the Defence Force announced on the same occasion that young Coloureds were to be enlisted in the Army on a voluntary basis for one year. This commenced in January 1973. In August 1973 the fir8t group of Candidate Officers started their officer's training. They were commissioned es Lieutenants on 16 May 1975. They have now attained Major ranks.

Also in February 1975 the Defence Act was amended to give members of the Cape Corps the same statue as their White counterparts.

In January 1975 authority was given for SACC members to wear the same uniform as the rest of the SA Army. The first Chaplain to the Cape Corps was appointed in October 1976.

Infantry training was commenced in Dune 1976 and in August of that year the first company of Coloured Infantrymen left Cape Town for operational duty. The first group to do so in 53 years they returned to Cape Town to a Hero’s welcome in November. During this period an officer and two NCO’s were wounded in contact with the enemy.

Since 1976 the Cape Corps has been represented in ever increasing numbers in the Operational Area until they reached Battalion strength 1979. Meanwhile the unit was also busy recruiting and training men in the Maintenance Field and since 1973 the maintenance and Transport Companies have rendered continuous operational duty.

In 1980 the one years voluntary service was increased to two years and the interest in military service is increasing steadily in spite of the fact that since 1979 no recruiting drives were physically undertaken.

Parity in service conditions and salaries was attained in 1980 except in three lowest ranks, i.e. Pte, L/Cpls and Cpls and in the case of officers from candidate officers to Lieutenants.

The unit commander had by the end under his command the training wing, a Battalion of Infantry and a maintenance unit. To relieve the area of command it was decided to split the unit into three each with its own Commanding Officer. Since January 1980, therefore the Cape Corps Service Battalion was disbanded and the Cape Corps School, 1 SACC Battalion and SACC Maintenance Unit was established.

To accommodate those trained men who left the unit after their period of voluntary service end who wishes to continue with military service, 30 Maintenance Unit was established as a Cape Corps Citizen Force Unit in 1977. Authority was also granted for Coloured men to join the Commando's and other CF Units.

In 1980 Cape Corp PF members were absorbed into their functional corps of the South African Army and the Cape Corps ceased to exit as a PF corps of the South African Defence Force.

At the disbandment of the Cape Corps Battalion on 31 at December 1979, Cape Corps members have received the following medals end awards:

  • Southern Cross Medals : 3
  • Pro Merito Medals : 5
  • C SADF Commendations : 16
  • Pro Patria Medals : 1 125
  • Long Service Bronze : 80
  • C Army Commendation : 2 (Civilian Personnel)

Compiled by Maj J.S.C. Cupido

The SACC was eventually disbanded on March 31, 1992. The next day 9 South African Infantry Battalion was established at Eersterivier, Cape Town in their place. No reason for the name change was ever given.

Some Cape Corps Units of the SADF
SACC Links

Images from 'Grensoorlog' series, produced by Linda de Jager, reproduced with kind permission from MNET
Images from 'Grensoorlog' series, produced by Linda de Jager, reproduced with kind permission from MNET
Images from 'Grensoorlog' series, produced by Linda de Jager, reproduced with kind permission from MNET
Images from 'Grensoorlog' series, produced by Linda de Jager, reproduced with kind permission from MNET
Images from 'Grensoorlog' series, produced by Linda de Jager, reproduced with kind permission from MNET


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