Intelligence service decorations and medals
June 2009

National Intelligence Service

THE National Intelligence Service (NIS) – previously the Bureau for State Security (BOSS) and originally Republican Intelligence (RI) – was established in 1963, and disbanded in December 1994.

National Intelligence Service medal ribbons

A series of decorations and medals for valour, distinguished leadership, distinguished service, and long service, was instituted for the NIS in July 1981. It was enlarged in 1987 and 1990, and became obsolete in December 1994. The series provided not only for NIS personnel, but also for "civilians:, i.e. South Africans outside the NIS, and for members of foreign intelligence services.

Unless otherwise stated below, decorations and medals were conferred by the minister responsible for the NIS. For obvious reasons, the names of recipients were not announced to the public.

NIS Decoration for Distinguished Leadership (OD) (1981-1994) — Awarded, by the state president, to top-ranking officials (grades A-D) for distinguished leadership, exceptional contributions to state security, and outstanding service.

Insignia: A gold cross of peacock feathers with rays separating the arms, and the NIS lion on a turquoise roundel (obverse). It is worn on a neck ribbon.

NIS Cross for Valour: Gold (CV) (1981-1994) — Awarded by the state president, for outstanding heroism in the face of extreme danger, in the line of duty.

Insignia: A gold cross of peacock feathers with passant lions separating the arms, and a plume of three blue peacock feathers on a white roundel (obverse).

NIS Cross for Valour: Silver (CVS) (1987-1994) — Awarded by the state president, for outstanding heroism in the face of great danger, in the line of duty.

Insignia: Same design as the CV, but in silver.

NIS Decoration for Outstanding Leadership (ED) (1981-1994) — Awarded to senior officials (grades A-G) for outstanding leadership, an exceptional contribution to the development of a branch of the NIS, and outstanding service.

Insignia: Same design as the OD, but smaller and in silver, and worn on the chest.

NIS Civil Decoration (1981-1994) — Awarded to "civilians", i.e. people outside the NIS, including senior military officers, for "exceptional acts of merit" (sic) which benefited the NIS.

Insignia: A circular silver medal displaying a plume of three blue peacock feathers on a white roundel in the centre of a 16-pointed star (obverse).

NIS Decoration: Gold (1981-1994) — Awarded to heads of foreign intelligence services, to recognise assistance to, co-operation with, and exceptional goodwill towards, the NIS.

Insignia: A gold convex cross, enamelled turquoise with peacock feathers separating the arms, and the NIS lion on a white roundel (obverse).

NIS Medal for Distinguished Service: Gold (OO) (1987-1994) — For utmost diligence or devotion, and outstanding service.

Insignia: A circular gold medal displaying a representation of the ED (obverse).

NIS Medal for Distinguished Service: Silver (OOS) (1981-1994) — For extraordinary diligence or devotion, and exceptional service.

Insignia: Same design as the OO, but in silver.

NIS Decoration: Silver (1981-1994) — Awarded to deputy heads of foreign intelligence services, for close co-operation with the NIS.

Insignia: Same design as the gold class of the decoration, but in silver.

NIS Medal for Distinguished Service: Bronze (OOB) (1987-1994) — For above-average diligence or devotion, and above-average service. Also called the "NIS Leyds Medal for Merit", in honour of 19th-century Transvaal state secretary Dr Willem Leyds.

Insignia: Same design as the OO, but in bronze.

NIS Decoration: Bronze (1981-1994) — Awarded to members of foreign intelligence services, for exposing themselves to danger while co-operating with the NIS, or for exceptional goodwill towards the NIS.

Insignia: Same design as the gold class of the decoration, but in bronze.

NIS Civil Medal (1990-1994) — For "above-average acts of merit" (sic) by "civilians", which benefited the NIS. It does not appear to have been awarded.

Insignia: Same design as the NIS Civil Decoration, but in bronze.

NIS Medal for Faithful Service (1981-1994) — For loyal service. Awarded cumulatively in three classes: Bronze after 10 years, Silver after 20 years, and Gold after 30 years.

Insignia: A circular medal displaying the shield of the NIS coat of arms (obverse) and the letters MTD - MFS (reverse).

References :
  • Government Gazette 7704 (07.08.1981), 10906 (18.09.1987), 10930 (25.09.1989), and 12507 (08.06.1990).
  • Alexander, E.G.M., Barron, G.K.B., Bateman, A.J.; South African Orders, Decorations and Medals (1985).
  • Monick, S.; South African Civil Awards 1910-1990 (1990).
 
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