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South Africa Police ribbon bar

David S

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South African Police Service (SAPS)

This is a new arrival - - tis a very nice bar

Looks to be plastic over paper (??)

The order on this bar is different than the precedence on ribbon charts

I do not know the date on this bar, I do not believe the awards are still awarded by the current SAPS

The aloe device is upside down, from what the medal shows . . . for these pics I made made it right

Any help is appreciated

--SAPS Medal for Combatting Terrorism

--SAPS Medal for Faithful Service (10 yrs)

--SAPS Star for Faithful Service

--SAPS Star of Merit

Edited by David S
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As you say, a very nice bar, and it looks as though it's in excellent condition.

If you turn the bar upside down, so that the Star for Merit is first and the Medal for Combating Terrorism is last, then it fits the pre-1990 order of precedence for SA Police medals. Until 1990, they placed their campaign medal last, to show that they were not a military force.

As there's no SAP Seventy-Fifth Anniversary Medal (1988), I'd guess that the policeman concerned retired before 1988 - but probably not too many years before that date, as IIRC the plastic-covered ribbon bars were introduced in the 1980s, when the SAP decided to start wearing their ribbons on their everyday working dress. The plastic covers were to protect them from getting dirty. I used to see a lot of them being worn (the police were very conspicuous in those days), but I hadn't realised that the ribbons underneath the plastic were actually paper.

So, what you may have here is the ribbon bar of a man who joined the SAP in the 1950s and served until the 1980s. In that case, he might well have qualified for the SAP Medal for Faithful Service before 1979, when the qualifying period of service was still 18 years. When the long service medals were "decimalised" in 1979, to bring them into line with the defence force's, the qualifying period was reduced to 10 years, and the SAP Star for Faithful Service was introduced as the 20-year award. The SAP Star for Merit already existed, as a general-purpose medal for bravery, meritorious service, or long service, and then became primarily a 30-year service medal.

(I say "man" because women weren't admitted to the SAP until about 1970, so none would have qualified for the 30-year medal, or even the 20-year medal, before 1988.)

The aloe clasp on the SAP Medal for Combating Terrorism indicates that the recipient was awarded a clasp for a second period of operational duty (60 days each), probably in South West Africa. As a matter of interest, is the clasp also covered by the plastic, or has it been stuck on the outside of the plastic?

You're quite right in thinking that these medals are no longer awarded. When the SAP was absorbed into the new SAPS in 1995, the SAPS took over the medals and continued to award them until 2004, when they were superseded by the current series.

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  • 1 year later...

The medal for combating terrorism was awared for service in

South West Africa

Rhodesia (only the SAP got Battle Honours for this campaign no SADF unit did)

Within South Africa's borders.

The first few years a Border trip to SWA or Rhodesia was 6 months in duration, but due to marital problems etc being had by members this was reduced.

The first non white members of the Force to carry automatic weapons and do Border Duty was Quebec Company which was sent to SWA in the early 1970's. I have some photos of them in SAP 1st pattern camoflauge uniform.

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A South African Policeman, who is now combatting crime in another country, told me that he claimed his Combatting Terrorism medal after 1994. It was not awarded, the reason being that there had been no "terrorism" in South Africa in the days of the "liberation struggle", an opinion passed on to him by a senior officer.



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Sounds about right, it is a very not PC medal to put on your CV in the new SA.

My one friend was turned down for a job as he had it on his CV.

Before handing in the CV, his future employer had been very welcoming and happy with him. On seeing his CV the reception he got from the same person was bleak and gloomy and he did not get the job.

Only two balkies (bars) could be awarded even if a person qualified for more, which alot of members did.

Especially members who volunteered for going on numerous border trips and those who were part of the police Koevoet unit which was based permenantly in SWA operational area. It later it became part of the South West Arican Police (SWAPOL) although it contained numerous SAP members.

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