Last modified: 2006-12-16 by
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At a Retreat ceremony held on Friday 25 April 2003, the old South African National Defence Force (SANDF) emblem, based on the Cape Castle outline, was formally phased out. The old SANDF flag was lowered at the South African Air Force Gymnasium Parade Ground at 18h00. The new SANDF emblem and flags were presented at a parade presided over by the Chief of the South African National Defence Force, General Siphiwe Nyanda, on 29 April 2003 at Defence Force Headquarters at Thaba Tshwane (formerly Voortrekkerhoogte).
The change is another milestone in the transformation process in the SANDF and sees the replacement of the Cape Castle outline with a new emblem. The new SANDF emblem incorporates a nine-pointed "Star" representing the warm sun of Africa and the nine provinces of South Africa. The Star outline replaces the Castle outline and is also used in divisional emblems and flags to reflect a common corporate identity coupled with a unique device for each Division. The four Services retain their respective traditional colours. The emblem also reinforces the idea of military identity, authority and dignity.
With the exception of the badge in the fly, the new flag of the renamed South African Military Health Services is identical in colour and design to the flag of its immediate predecessor, the second flag adopted by what was then called the South African Medical Health Service, which was approved by the Chief of the South African National Defence Force on 3 August 1994 and flown between 11 November 1994 and 25 April 2003.
The new flag of the re-named South African Military Health Service is ruby red with the national flag, fimbriated in white, in the canton and the new badge of the Military Health Service in the lower fly. The new badge has the nine-pointed star outline in yellow in the centre of which is a serpent coiled round an upright staff, also in yellow. This flag was officially taken into use at a Defence Force parade held at Thaba Tshwane on 29 April 2003.
Bruce Berry, 09 Jan 2004
image by Martin Grieve , 29 April 2004On 11 November 1994 new South African military flags were adopted. The flag of South African National Defence Force (SANDF) was green with the national flag in the canton, and emblem in the lower fly (two swords, one anchor, and wings). The defence force Medical Services has the same basic design but with a dark red field and different emblem in the fly - the snake in a pole, symbol of medicine.
The flag of the SANDF is as described above but with the following detail:
Medical Corps - background colour is maroon/burgundy not red. All these flags are based on the designs used by the former SADF, with the naval ensign being modified slightly as indicated above.
A history of the Flags of the Union Defence Forces and of the South African Defence Force 1912 - 1993 is available as SAVA JOURNAL 2/93. If anyone is interested in this, please contact me off-list.
Bruce Berry, 26 Nov 1996
Following the adoption of the new national flag on 27 April 1994, a new design for a flag for the South African Medical Services was approved by the Chief of the South African National Defence Force on 03 August 1994, namely:
"a rectangular ruby red flag in the proportions of two to three; within the upper hoist quarter the national flag of the Republic of South Africa, with a white fimbriation; and in the lower fly quarter the emblem of the South African Medical Services, to wit;
on a ruby ground plan of the Castle of Good Hope, with a gold border, a serpent coiled round an upright staff, both of gold".
This ensign was carried for the first time at a Defence Force parade held in Pietersburg on 11 November 1994 and was used until the adoption of the renamed South African Military Health Services flag in April 2003.
(Source: Berry, B and Watson, E, "Flags of the South African Department of Defence - 1994 and beyond", Paper presented at the XX International Congress of Vexillology, Stockholm, July 2003)
Bruce Berry, 29 April 2004
"The Medical Services were constituted as a separate service on 1 July 1979. As with all other services, the Medical Service was given a flag to represent it. This flag was approved on 11 January 1979 and had slight revisions to its colour codes on 5 March 1981.
The first Medical Services Flag consisted of a ruby field with a fimbriated national flag in the canton. The badge of the medical services was placed in the lower fly quarter. This badge consists of a gold outline plan of the Castle of Good Hope, a field of ruby red, and a gold snake coiled around a gold staff.
The second and current Medical Services Flag merely substituted the new South African flag in the canton. Approved on 3 August 1994, it was taken into use 11 November 1994.
Sources: SAVA Journal 2/93, "Flags of the Union Defence Forces and of the South African Defence Force, 1912-1993;" SAVA Newsletter, 11/94."
Paige Herring, 10 Mar 1998
The South African Medical Services were constituted as the fourth arm of service of the South African Defence Force on 01 July 1979. In anticipation of this the Chief of the South African Defence Force approved the design for the South African Medical Services on 11 January 1979, so that this flag could be in place when the Medical Services were officially constituted. On 05 March 1981 a revised design was approved whereby certain colour codes had been changed although the design itself remain the same. This design was:
"A rectangular ruby flag, in the proportions of two to three; with
In the upper hoist quarter the national flag of the republic of South Africa, with a white fimbriation; and
In the lower fly quarter the emblem of the South African Medical Services, to wit:
On a ruby ground plan of the castle of Good Hope with a gold border, a serpent coiled round an upright staff, both of gold".
This ensign was used continuously until 1994 when it was replaced with the version containing the new national flag in the canton.
(Source: SAVA Journal 2/93: Flags of the Union Defence Forces and of the South African Defence Force, 1912-1993 by Prof. HH Smith).
Bruce Berry, 29 April 2004