Legality of South Africans joining the British Armed Forces

Service Personnel: South African Citizens

I am not sure if this is the right forum to place this information, but there has been a PQ on the legality of South African citizens serving in the British Armed Forces asked in the House of Commons (Commons Hansard: 26 March 2007, Cols.1359-1360), as follows:

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 17 January 2007, Official Report, column 1173W, on service personnel: South African citizens, what progress has been made on the officials’ visit to South Africa; and if he will make a statement.

Derek Twigg [holding answer 19 March 2007]: The draft South African legislation on mercenaries and membership of the armed forces of other nations has completed its parliamentary process, and is currently with the President awaiting his assent although we are unable to establish when and if this may be given. Active engagement with the South African Department of Defence is on-going and we hope to secure a date for the officials’ visit at the earliest opportunity.
Re: Legality of South Africans joining the British Armed For

Good post Steve but all might not be aware of the background.

The South African government have been in the process of passing the bill supposedly to suppress RSA citizens joining mercenary armies in other african countries. Whether intentionally or otherwise it would have the effect of prohibiting RSA citizens joining other commonwealth countries armies.


Re: Legality of South Africans joining the British Armed For

The RSA government gave UK MoD a heads up about this about a year ago and all South Africans currently serving were informed. Basically it meant that any SA citizens serving in another nations armed forces would have been arrested as mercenaries if they went home on leave.

I believe they were given the choice to either return to SA or stay and have UK citizenship. Once they have obtained UK passport (applications being rushed through system I think) they can visit SA once more.

On a similar vein, RSA is the only country in the Commonwealth that will not accept other Commonwealth personnel in their Armed Forces.