What Does the Legion Do?

The country-wide network of Branches provide social activities for their members. However, the Legion is best known as a service organisation which has been speaking out on behalf of veterans since 1921. At a time when there are more military veterans in South Africa than ever before, those in need of food, clothing, financial assistance, advice, assistance with pensions and accommodation turn to the Legion for help. It is one of a few organisations which will assist military veterans on their first visit to a Branch.
The help we give is made available through a number of specialists programmes, projects or funds run by the Legion.

The Casual Relief Scheme, which has been in operation since 1948, assists veterans of the two World Wars and their spouses with short term emergency relief. The money is provided by the National War Fund. The Legion also acts as an agent for the National War Fund to provide continuous grants to certain disabled veterans or their widows.
The Post War Fund looks after those who have served since the Second World War. The monies were raised some years ago by the Sunday Times Border Fund of which the administration has been entrusted to the Legion. There is a heavy call on its resources to provide for the needs of a younger generation which includes many unemployed veterans and their families. Some of them are moving from place to place in search of work. Many families are in great distress.

Most veterans' organisations do not assist those who served with WK, APLA or AZANLA. The Legion does, using funds specially obtained for the purpose.
On behalf of the RCEL, the Legion cares for military veterans from other Commonwealth countries who now live in South Africa. Assistance is obtained from national, corps and regimental funds in Britain. There are other schemes which care for specific needs. These include the South African Soldier Graves Organisation, which assists in the upkeep military cemeteries, a fund which provides for former prisoners-of-war and a prospect to visit veterans in psychiatric institutions.

The Legion is well known for its very long, and at times difficult, struggle or behalf of military pensioners and their families. It took decades to get some benefits such as equal pensions for all, but the struggle continues to get the war veterans (old age pensioners) and the disabled a better deal. Daily the aged and the disabled turn to the Legion provinces with a large variety of problems encountered in collecting their meagre grants.
One of our biggest success stories is Operation Contact. This is a service provided by the Secretariat to those who were physically, mentally and socially disabled. Also assisted are their dependents and widows. Operation Contact keeps in touch with them to establish what their needs and problems are.  Although it is not possible to calculate the cash benefits obtained over the past decade, one expert estimates it at between fifteen and twenty-million rand. The total of arrears payments obtained through the scheme now exceeds six-million rand.

The helping hand
The Legion's experience and expertise has long been available to other organisations in the veterans community.  Over the years associations and organisations which were no longer able to carry on with their work, turned to the Legion to assume responsibility for the task. The oldest of the bodies amalgamated with the Legion in this way has celebrated its 101st anniversary and is still going strong!
In the present difficult times, other organisations are being assisted with administrative services only. In the process both the Legion and the customer retain their independence.

Old Soldier

The future
To survive, the Legion needs members to carry on with the work. It is a continuous struggle. The older members are passing to Higher Service while the younger generation is slow to come forward to shoulder their responsibility.  However, the Legion has gone through a process of planning, change, adjustment and renewal to meet the challenges of the New Millennium. We think we are going to be around for some years to come.

If you wish to Know More About the Legion or are interested in joining the organisation send an e-mail to  

This page created on 17 Jylu 2022