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How to become a SAPS reservist

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Who is a reservist?

A reservist is a person appointed by the National Commissioner as a member of the Reserve Police Service to render services as a volunteer in support of the Police.

Categories of reservists

There will be only two categories:

1. Category 1 Reservist: Functional Policing

  • Performs general policing functions in sectors at station level as part of the sector deployment or in a unit if a specific operational need exist
  • Performs duties in the Community Safety Centre
  • Must wear a uniform (only after having successfully completed training)
  • Performs duties under the supervision of a permanent member or experienced reservist (a reservist with at least three years’ experience)
  • Must be trained in the relevant aspects of functional policing

2. Category 2 Reservist:  Specialized Operational Support

  • Must be a person who has particular skills or expertise that can be operationally used by the SAPS
  • Shall perform specific functions in his or her field of expertise
  • May, with the approval of his or her commander, wear a uniform
  • Must be trained in relevant legal aspects, policy and instructions applicable to his or her specific functions

Recruitment for appointment

The recruitment of new reservists must be based on the operational needs and priorities of the SAPS and the need to acquire specialised skills and competencies to ensure that suitable community members are recruited.

Emphasis should be put on recruiting suitable former members of the SAPS. Such members should be encouraged to join as reservists to share their knowledge and experience.

The attention of prospective reservists must be drawn to the fact that their services are voluntary duties, without any remuneration, and that their position as a reservist does not ensure that they will be appointed if they should apply for a permanent position in the SAPS.

What are the requirements for appointment?

A candidate must comply with the following, basic enlistment requirements:

  • Be a South African citizen by birth
  • Be at least 25, but under 40 years of age, of which documentary proof must be furnished
  • Complete a health questionnaire, at his or her own cost, which is confirmed by a registered medical practitioner
  • Be medically, mentally and physically fit to perform duties
  • Be of good and sound character

  • Fit the psychometric profile and must successfully complete any other test that may be determined by the National Commissioner
  • Be in possession of at least a senior certificate (Grade 12) or must have successfully completed a SAQA accredited NQF level 4 qualification, of which documentary proof must be provided

  • Be able to speak, read and write at least two official languages, of which one must be English
  • Allow his or her fingerprints and a DNA sample to be taken
  • Be prepared to undergo such training as may be determined by the National Commissioner
  • Be prepared to take the prescribed oath of office
  • Understand that his or her services may be terminated at the age of 60
  • Complete an assessment questionnaire

  • Be vetted or screened
  • Be employed and provide proof of employment
  • Provide proof of his or her residential address
  • Not have a criminal record or any criminal or departmental cases pending against him or her (all criminal or departmental cases must be declared)
  • Not have a tattoo which will be visible if the person wears a uniform

A person may not be appointed under the following circumstances

  • If he/she was discharged as being medically unfit by a previous employer
  • Is a former member of the SAPS whose application for re-enlistment was rejected due to negative considerations
  • Is a member of the Regular Force of the National Defence Force referred to in section 52 of the Defence Act, 2002 (Act No 42 of 2002)

  • Holds a key position as determined by the Department of Labour
  • Holds any post or office in a political party, organisation, movement or body
  • Is actively involved in politics or who is an outspoken supporter of a political party and who may violate the non-partisan nature of the SAPS
  • Is a full-time or part-time journalist
  • Does not have a fixed residential address
  • Is not in full-time employment
  • Is a scholar

  • Is a bouncer or chucker-out
  • Is a member of a municipal police service (including a local law enforcement officer)
  • Is a sheriff or deputy sheriff
  • Is in any manner connected to a brothel, escort agency or any other undertaking which –
    • remunerates persons to perform sexual acts or striptease dancing, or serve as waiters or waitresses while naked or semi-naked
    • supplies persons to clients for purposes of allowing such clients to perform sexual acts with such persons
    • sells, distributes or promotes any form of pornographic material or sexual aid (other than a sexual aid prescribed by a medical practitioner) or
    • is involved in the taking of or posing for pornographic photographs or the making of pornographic sketches, films, videos or computer- readable material

  • Is in any manner connected to a business or industry which has contracted with or submitted a tender to the State to render a service or to supply a product to the SAPS
  • Is in any manner whatsoever involved in —
    • the private security industry (whether as director, partner or employee)
    • the taxi industry (this includes but is not limited to, running a taxi service by the person himself or herself, or by employing another person, or the performance of remunerative work for a taxi association, group of taxi owners or operators or for a single taxi owner or operator)
    • the trade of liquor or the keeping of a tavern or shebeen
    • the preparation or completion of applications for liquor licences
    • private investigation services (this includes, but is not limited to, performing tracing work as a tracing agent, money lender, debt collector or financial institution, the performance of private detective work, the interception of communications or the planting of electronic bugging devices)
    • running a scrapyard (whether as owner or employee)
    • the microlending services
    • conducting the business of trading in second-hand goods
    • the tow-in or breakdown service industry (this includes, but is not limited to, the operation of a tow-in or breakdown service by the person himself or herself or through another person, or the performance of remunerative work for an association of persons or entities running tow-in or breakdown services, a group of persons or entities running tow-in or breakdown services or for a single tow-in or breakdown service owner or operator
    • the gambling industry
    • the preparation or completion of applications for firearm licences
    • the rendering of a security service
    • insurance investigations and investigations on behalf of agencies handling claims against the Road Accident Fund
    • serving of court processes, excluding the serving of summonses in civil cases
    • trading in livestock, excluding such trading as part of bona-fide farming activities
    • the business of a funeral undertaker

Certain persons, listed below, may be appointed under specific circumstances

  • A Community Police Forum member while he or she does not serve on a Community Police Board or on the Executive Committee of a Community Police Forum
  • An official or employee of Transnet, with the written approval of his or her head of department
  • A member of Correctional Services —
    • if his or her duties as reservist will not interfere with his or her normal work activities
    • the interests of the Department of Correctional Services will at all times be served first
    • may not be called up in terms of Regulation 5 of the Regulations without the permission of the Department of Correctional Services

  • Public Service Act personnel employed by the SAPS, if they perform their duties as reservists outside their normal working hours
  • An employee of a municipality, including a member of the emergency services
    • If his or her duties as reservist will not interfere with his or her normal work activities
    • the interests of the municipality will at all times be served first
    • he or she may not be called up in terms of Regulation 5 of the Regulations without the permission of the municipality in question

  • A reserve member of the National Defence Force —
    • if his or her duties as a reservist will not interfere with his or her normal work activities
    • the interests of the National Defence Force will at all times be served first
    • may not be called up in terms of Regulation 5 of the Regulations without the permission of the National Defence Force

Re-enlistment of reserve members or reservists

reservist, who served in the Reserve Police Service, may be re-enlisted as a reservist, provided that he or she meets all the requirements and that he or she –

  • agrees to undergo a refresher course if he or she has been inactive for a period longer than two (2) years
  • is suitable to serve in the Reserve Police Service (his or her service record and a report from his or her previous commander must be obtained to confirm this)

Uniform and insignia

In terms of the Regulations for the South African Reserve Police Service and National Instruction 3/2014, reservists will be wearing the same uniform as permanent members whilst on duty, but will be clearly identified as reservists through insignia, as is common practice in the South African Police Service in respect of some permanent members attached to specialised units.


Reservists will in future be appointed as police reservists without ranks.  Existing reservists will however retain their current ranks until resignation or termination of their appointment.

The revised reservist system provided for the appointment of a Head Reservist which creates the necessary structure and authority.

Training and skills development

A reservist must undergo training as determined by the National Commissioner.

A reservist must also receive in-service training to provide him or her with the key competencies and skills to ensure that the reservist is developed in the field to safely and effectively perform his or her duties.

Reservist training will be conducted in the form of distance learning and scheduled contact sessions for practical aspects of the training programme.

Reserve members with experience of recent operational policing, who retired or resigned less than twenty-four months before applying to join as a reservist, may be exempted from attending the basic training programme.

Conditions of enlistment

If a reservist is injured on duty and is medically unfit for duty owing to an illness resulting from duty and, as a consequence suffers a loss of income, he or she may be compensated for loss of salary.

If a reservist is killed on duty or as a result of his or her duty as a reservist, his or her spouse qualifies for the payment of a death grant provided that all the requirements have been met.

If a reservist dies whilst performing his or her duty or as a result of an injury or illness resulting from duty, reasonable costs for a funeral may be paid out of State funds.

Medals and awards

Certificates for meritorious services may be issued to a reservist in recognition of exceptional services rendered.


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