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How to become a reservist

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.

There are two categories of reservists:

  • Category 1 Reservists: Functional Policing; and
  • Category 2 Reservists: Specialised Operational Support.

Category 1 Reservists: Functional Policing:

A reservist appointed to this category —

  • must perform general policing functions in sectors at station level as part of the sector deployment or in a unit if a specific operational need exists, but only with the prior written approval of the commander;
  • may perform duties in the Community Service Centre: Provided that the Provincial Commissioner, at the request of the station commander, has approved the utilisation of Category 1 Reservists for this purpose;
  • must wear a uniform determined by the National Commissioner;
  • must, perform duties under the supervision of a permanent member or experienced reservist for the purpose of proper control;
  • must be trained in relevant aspects of functional policing applicable to his or her duties and must be provided with additional job-specific in-service training, depending on the functions he or she will be required to perform;
  • and may be called-up by the National Commissioner to report for duty at a place, date and time determined by the National Commissioner and to perform such functions at such places for such periods as may be determined by the National Commissioner.

Category 2 Reservists: Specialized Operational Support:

A reservist appointed to this category —

  • must be a person who has particular skills or expertise which can be utilised operationally by the Police;
  • shall perform specific functions in his or her field of expertise;
  • may, with the approval of his or her commander, wear a uniform determined by the National Commissioner;
  • must be trained in relevant legal aspects, policy and instructions applicable to his or her specific functions;
  • and may be called-up to perform functions relevant to his or her specific skills.

What are the requirements for appointment?

To be appointed as a reservist, a candidate must comply with the following criteria:

  • be a South African citizen by birth;
  • at least be 25 years and below 40 years of age for which documentary proof must be furnished;
  • complete a health questionnaire determined by the National Commissioner which, at his or her own cost, is confirmed by a registered medical practitioner;
  • be medically mentally and physically fit to perform the duties of a reservist;
  • be of good and sound character, for which positive background enquiries must be obtained;
  • fit the psychometric profile and has successfully completed any other test that may be determined by the National Commissioner;
  • be in possession of at least a senior certificate (Grade 12) or has 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;
  • understands that his or her services may be terminated at the age of 60;
  • complete an assessment questionnaire;
  • be vetted or screened;
  • be permanently employed and provides 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);
  • may not have a tattoo which will be visible if the person wears a uniform.

When may a person NOT be appointed as reservist?

A person will be disqualified if he/she:

  • was discharged as medically unfit from a previous employer;
  • is a former member of the Police whose application for re-enlistment was rejected due to negative considerations;
  • is a member of the Regular Force of the National Defence Force;
  • 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 Police;
  • is a full-time or part-time journalist;
  • does not have a fixed residential address;
  • is not employed full-time;
  • 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 or posing for pornographic photographs or the making of pornographic sketched, firms, 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 Police;
  • is in any manner whatsoever involved in the following:
    • the private security industry (whether as director, partner or employee);
    • the taxi industry (this includes but is not limited to , the operation of 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, performing tracing work as a tracing agent, money lender, debt collected or financial institution, the performance of private detective work, the interception of communications or the planting of electronic bugging devices);
    • the operation of a scrap yard (whether as owner or employee);
    • the micro lending 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 operating tow-in or breakdown services, a group of persons or entities operating 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 physical security service;
    • insurance investigations and investigations on behalf of agencies handling claims against the Road Accident Fund;
    • serving of court process, excluding the serving of summonses in civil cases;
    • trading in live stock, excluding such trading as part of bona fide farming activities; or
    • in the business of a funeral undertaker.


  • A reservist will be subjected to high standards of recruitment and selection requirements, similar to processes applicable for the appointment of permanent members in the Service. This includes former reservists that apply for re-enlistment.
  • The recruitment of reservists will be based on the operational needs and priorities of the Police and the need to acquire specialised skills and competencies.
  • Two structured recruitment drives will be communicated annually in media, inviting interested applicants in the community to apply to join the South African Reserve Police Service.


  • A reservist must undergo such training as determined by the National Commissioner.
  • Reservist training will take the form of distance learning and contact sessions for certain practical aspects of the training curriculum.
  • A reservist, who performs functions which require that he or she must be armed, must be properly trained and found competent in the legal principles contained in the Firearms Control Act, handling of firearms, the provisions of section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act No. 51 of 1977), and the directives regarding the use of firearms, before he or she may be allowed to go on duty armed.

Operational utilisation and hours of duty:

  • Reservists are appointed in terms of the South African Police Service Act, 19 (Act No of 19), Section 48 and have full policing powers when official performing duty as a reservist.
  • The defined role for reservists is predominantly to support crime prevention – or reduction operations and initiatives at police station level as part of the sector deployment, as well as strengthening the Police capacity during the high crime periods, special operations and policing rural areas.
  • A reservist must perform a minimum of 16 hours functional duty per month: Provided that a Category 2 reservist performs duties based on operational needs and is therefore not obliged to perform the sixteen (16) hours duty per month.
  • If a reservist, without the written permission of the commander, fails to perform the minimum required voluntary duty of sixteen (16) hours per month during a three month period, he or she will be considered inactive and his or her services may be terminated by the commander.

Wearing of uniform, insignia and ranks:

  • The National Commissioner will determine the uniform, distinct identification and equipment that must be issued to a reservist as soon as he or she has successfully completed his or her training and has been certified as competent by the relevant Training Manager at provincial level.
  • At present reservists will wear the approved uniform applicable to permanent members.
  • Reservists appointed in terms of the new National Instruction 3 of 2014 will be identified by distinct insignia (flashes and name tag identification) that clearly identifies him/her as a reservist.

You need to bring the following original documents, together with certified copies of the documents listed below along:

  • Testimonials from employers/religious bodies/schools etc
  • Grade 12 or highest qualification (SAQA accredited
  • Identity document of spouse (where applicable)
  • Marriage certificate (where applicable)
  • South African identity document
  • Proof of residential address
  • Proof of employment
  • Comprehensive CV
  • Drivers’ licence (optional)


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