Military Rule Medal

Military Rule Medal
Awarded by the State President
Country Transkei
Type Military commemorative medal
Eligibility All ranks
Awarded for Commemoration of the 1987 military coup d'état
Status Discontinued in 1994
Established 1987
TDF pre-1994 & SANDF post-2002 orders of wear
Next (higher)
TDF precedence:
SANDF precedence:
Next (lower)
TDF succession:
SANDF succession:

Ribbon bar

The Military Rule Medal was instituted by the State President of the Republic of Transkei to commemorate the bloodless military coup d'état which overthew the Transkei government on 30 November 1987.[1][2][3]

The Transkei Defence Force

The Transkei Defence Force (TDF) was established upon that country's independence on 26 October 1976. The Republic of Transkei ceased to exist on 27 April 1994 and the Transkei Defence Force was amalgamated with six other military forces into the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).[3][4][5]

Coup d'état

On 30 November 1987, Major General Bantu Holomisa, the Chief of the Transkei Defence Force, led a bloodless coup d'état against the Transkei government of Prime Minister Stella Sigcau, suspended the civilian constitution and refused South Africa's repeated demands for a return to civilian rule on the grounds that a civilian government would be a puppet controlled by Pretoria.[3]


The Military Rule Medal was instituted by General Holomisa to commemorate the coup d'état. While the medal is known to have been instituted and awarded, no warrant has yet been traced.[1][6]

Award criteria

The medal was awarded to all members of the Transkei Defence Force loyal to the military government.[1][6]

Order of wear

Since the Military Rule Medal was authorised for wear by one of the statutory forces which came to be part of the South African National Defence Force on 27 April 1994, it was accorded a position in the official South African order of precedence on that date.

Transkei Defence Force until 26 April 1994

South African National Defence Force from 27 April 1994

The position of the Military Rule Medal in the order of precedence remained unchanged, as it was on 27 April 1994, when decorations and medals were belatedly instituted in April 1996 for the two former non-statutory forces, the Azanian People's Liberation Army and Umkhonto we Sizwe, and again when a new series of military orders, decorations and medals was instituted in South Africa on 27 April 2003.[6]



The Military Rule Medal is a medallion struck in bronze, 38 millimetres in diameter and 3 millimetres thick at the rim, displaying a crossed R1 automatic military rifle and spear, surrounded by a wreath.[7]


The reverse displays the Coat of Arms of the Republic of Transkei, with the words "MILITARY RULE MEDAL" around the perimeter above and the date "30:11:1987" around the perimeter below.[8]


The ribbon is 32 millimetres wide and green, with a 2 millimetres wide white band, a 2 millimetres wide brown band and a 2 millimetres wide white band in the centre. Brown, white and green are the colours of the Transkei national flag.


Conferment of the Transkei Defence Force Medal was discontinued when the Republic of Transkei ceased to exist on 27 April 1994.[5]


  1. 1 2 3 South African Medal Website - Transkei Defence Force (Accessed 30 April 2015)
  2. Republic of Transkei Constitution Act, 1976, Act no. 15 of 1976
  3. 1 2 3 South Africa Homeland Militaries, May 1996 (Accessed 1 May 2015)
  4. Peled, Alon (1998), A Question of Loyalty: Military Manpower Policy in Multiethnic States, Cornell Studies in Security Affairs, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, pp. 50f, ISBN 0-8014-3239-1
  5. 1 2 Warrant of the President of the Republic of South Africa for the Institution of the "UNITAS MEDAL-UNITAS-MEDALJE", Gazette no. 16087 dated 25 November 1994.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Republic of South Africa Government Gazette Vol. 477, no. 27376, Pretoria, 11 March 2005, OCLC 72827981
  7. Uniform: SA Army: Former Forces Medals - Transkei Defence Force (TDF)
  8. Reverse of the Military Rule Medal
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