Today in history: SAPS formed

By Drum Digital
01 April 2015

Date: 1 April, 1913

In 1913 the Police Bill and Defence Bill were both enacted and the authorisation for the establishment of a national police force was given. The South African Police (SAP) was the successor to the police forces of the Cape Colony, the Natal Colony, the Orange River Colony and the Transvaal Colony.

The entire force had to be restructured and for a short period the South African Defence Force's (SADF) military police assisted the SAP where necessary.  Not very long after the establishment of the SAP, mineworkers’ strike and Indian Passive Resistance campaign erupted on the Witwatersrand and in Natal (kwaZulu Natal). The police force was still being restructured and when negotiations broke down, around 19 000 miners took part in mass action that turned violent on 5 July 1913 as it gained momentum. The SAP could not handle the situation alone and the military was called in.

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