New FCA Membership Requirements

SAAACA maintains an active membership in the field of arms (Antique and Modern), ammunition, edged weapons general militaria, medals and decorations, books, models and miniatures, vehicles and many other fields


Members can be found in South Africa and our neighbouring territories such as Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and in several overseas Countries. Membership includes all members of the Historical Firearms Society of South Africa (HFSSA) based in Capetown, South Africa, who recently chose to incorporate into SAAACA


Application for membership is made by completing the relevant forms obtainable from the SAAACA office and is subject to the following:


Guidelines for the Evaluation and Approval of New Members, assessment of ‘good standing’ , and Categorization of New and Existing members


The FCA 2000 and its associated Regulations require Collectors Associations to have in place  , as a prerequisite for acquiring and retaining Accreditation under the Act , a number of requirements which are described in , or coupled to, the Association’s Constitution or Founding Documents ..


(a) Evaluation and approval of Members  


The first  Process ( or so-called ‘Dedicated Procedure’) is for the evaluation and approval of their members against various criteria viz. –


1.     The Member must have a specific ‘Field of Interest and/or Theme(s)’ for his or her collection .


The Association must ensure that the ‘Field of Interest and/or Theme(s)’ is legitimate , and adequately defined, described , and recorded .


( Please refer to the related Naaccsa publication  “ Guidelines for the interpretation of Field of Interest and/or Theme(s)”  for a more detailed discussion of this topic )


The FCA does not place any limits on the scale or scope of Field of Interest and/or Theme(s) , provided these are legitimate , and can be adequately motivated .


The Member may add to his or her ‘Field of Interest and/or Theme(s)’ , provided this is motivated and submitted to the Association for approval and recordal .


2.     The Member is required to have , and to be able to demonstrate , reasonable ‘ Interest in , and Knowledge of ’ his or her stated ‘Field of Interest and/or Theme(s)’



In this regard the Regulations highlight a number of attributes of ‘value’ which may be used to assess the Member’s Interest and Knowledge , plus allowing for other attributes which the Association may choose to recognise .


These attributes of value , as listed in Regulation 5 of the FCA , currently include Historical , Heritage, Scientific, Technological, Cultural , Educational , Artistic, and Other – as approved by the accredited collector’s association of which the collector is a member   .


The Executive Committee of the Association , or Membership Committee appointed by it for the purpose , ( and augmented by suitable members as may be necessary acting as ‘subject matter experts’), will need to assess the Applicant’s professed Knowledge and Interest , and to record the results of this assessment in the Association’s records for possible inspection / audit  .


This assessment may vary slightly from case to case , but would typically include an evaluation of the Applicant’s written application , an interview, consideration of the Applicant’s reference material (books etc) , and possibly track record in applicable situations  .


Except in exceptional circumstances , new members would be accommodated in Category ‘C’ ( ‘normal’  firearms) as defined in the Regulations. 


 However it also needs to be recognised that Collectors are not ‘born overnight’ , and that often a period of development must be considered .


In this regard , mechanisms such as ‘Novice collector’ or ‘probationary periods’ can be employed to encourage new members , while still observing statutory and governance requirements  .


Summary of requirements for new members :


  • A written Application form outlining the Applicants Field of Interest and Theme(s) – see typical example ( annexure 1)  attached


  • Details of any existing firearms , or other artefacts held which support the above 


  • A Declaration of Compliance with the relevant portions of the FCA


  • Two references from other members or persons of repute .


  • A detailed motivation as to why the Applicant wishes to be considered as a Private Collector ( as opposed to Hunter or Sports shooter) , with as much supporting evidence as possible .



  • Questionnaire’s can assist in preparing this motivation .


  • A report by the Associations on the Applicant’s submission and interview , and the decision reached, which is kept on record .



(b) Assessment of ‘Good Standing’  


The second question which the FCA requires the Association to consider is the question of the ‘good standing’ of its members – both new and existing  .


This is a controversial topic , and Collectors Associations will have to agree where the relative responsibilities of the Association , and the SAPS , start and stop in this regard.


Certain elements are fairly easy to determine e.g.


  • In the case of new Members , is the Applicant known to the Association , or can the Applicant be supported by (at least) two character references from existing members or other persons of repute acceptable to the Association ?


  • Is the member up to date with Subscriptions and other obligations where applicable ?


  • Has the Member conducted him/herself in accordance with the Code of Conduct of the Association ?


  • Annual confirmation by the member of his or her personal details , and description of Field of Interest and/or theme(s), as required to be kept by the Association


However where it comes to issues of Compliance with Section 9 of the FCA and related requirements , this is arguably a SAPS matter , and the Association should limit itself to requiring a ‘Declaration of Compliance with the requirements of the FCA’  from the member , both for new Applicants, as well as existing members on an Annual basis .


It is therefore recommended that the ‘Annual Invoice’ issued by the Association includes not only the Financial ( subscription) details, but also confirmation of the members stated Field of Interest and/or Theme(s) , and the ‘Declaration of Compliance’ with the FCA, which must be signed and returned timeously by the member as a pre-condition for continued membership .


The ‘Receipt’ which is then issued by the Association will confirm the member’s ‘good standing’ and should form an annual adjunct to the members Membership Certificate


The Regulations also require the Associations to report any termination of membership for disciplinary reasons , together with the circumstances, to the CFR by the 31st of December each year .




( c ) Categorisation  


The third issue which Associations have to address is the question of ‘Categorisation’ of existing and future members , and ‘Change of Category’ of current  members , and to have a Process in place ( ‘Dedicated Procedure’ ) to effect this .


The Membership Certificate must take the form of a ‘solemn declaration’ to conform with Section 17 of the FCA, and must reflect the Category in which the Association has classified the member .


The Competency Certificate issued by the SAPS to the member will also in the case of Categories ‘C’, ‘B’, or ‘A’ , reflect the respective Category in which the Association has classified the member .


The Categories are described in Regulation 5 of the FCA , but can be paraphrased as follows –


Category ‘C’ – ‘Normal’ firearms


Category ‘B’ – ‘Normal’ and ‘Restricted’ firearms


Category ‘A’ – “Normal’ , ‘Restricted’ and ‘Prohibited’ firearms .


It must be emphasised that the ‘Categorisation’ of members is a convenient , and helpful ‘governance and control’ mechanism , which although stringent , is no reflection on the member’s status and knowledge .


(South Africa has many highly regarded, knowledgeable  and experienced ‘Category C’ Collectors , who simply have no interest in Restricted or Prohibited artefacts )


In most instances , many  Associations may also have to accommodate two further ‘Categories’ not described as such in the Regulations viz –


  • ‘Uncategorised’ – where the member collects artefacts other than firearms e.g. militeria, edged weapons etc


  • ‘Ammunition Collector’ – where the member collects ammunition and is in possession of an Ammunition Collector’s Permit issued in terms of Section 18 of the FCA , either in isolation , or in conjunction with Category ‘C’, ‘B’, or ‘A’ .





Associations will have to consider three situations viz –


  • Categorisation of new members
  • Categorisation ( initial) of existing members
  • Categorisation (upgrade ) of existing members


(i) Categorisation of new members


New members will , except in exceptional circumstances , be classified in Category ‘C’ as set out in sections (a) and (b) above


(ii) Categorisation of existing members


Existing members will need to apply for the respective Category in which they feel they should be classified , by means of an Application Form which reflects and motivates their ‘Interest in and Knowledge of a particular  Field of Interest and/or Theme(s)’ as set out in Regulation 5(1)(a) , and is described in Section (a) above .


In the case of Category ‘C’ applications , the Executive Committee of the Association , or Membership Committee constituted and mandated for that purpose , will consider the application as if it were an application for new membership , and evaluate it accordingly with a view to –


  • Approving the application if the details are well presented, and the applicant is well known to the Committee
  • Arranging a clarification Interview if required
  • Classifying the member as ‘uncategorised’ if the requirements of ‘Interest’, ‘Knowledge’, adequately defined ‘Field of Interest’ etc are not currently met , whereafter the member may re-apply in due course  


In the case of Category ‘B’ or ‘A’ applications during the transitional phase  , these can only be considered if the applicant has Category ‘B’ or ‘A’ artefacts acquired by virtue of his or her previous Bona Fide Collecting activities, and were motivated and approved as such, and which fit with the applicant’s declared Field of Interest and/or Theme(s) .


These requirements should be assessed and confirmed by the Association’s Executive Committee , or Membership Committee constituted and mandated for that purpose, by means of a mandatory interview with the applicant , and the details recorded on the Association’s records .


Given the procedural difficulties associated with trying to track down original applications etc, it is recommended that the applicant be requested to furnish a sworn affidavit confirming that the artefacts in question were acquired as Bona Fide collector’s Items .





Given the increased responsibility associated with the ownership of Restricted and Prohibited artefacts, it is further recommended that the applicant be requested to –


  • Furnish two letters of reference from existing members of the Association
  • Confirm the adequacy of his or her security arrangements


(iii) Categorisation Upgrade of existing members


Applications from existing members to upgrade from ‘Uncategorised’ to Category ‘C’,  Category ‘C’ to ‘B’ , or ‘B’ to ‘A’ must be made in writing , and must include a full motivation detailing


  • The envisaged  non-restricted artefacts which the applicant wishes to acquire for his or her collection, in the case of Category ‘C’
  • The envisaged Restricted or Prohibited artefacts which the applicant wishes to add to his or her collection in the case of ‘B’ or ‘A’
  • How this fits in with the applicant’s previously stated and approved Field of Interest and/or Theme(s)
  • If this is an extension to the applicant’s previous Field of Interest etc, how this has come about , and the rationale for the proposed extension.
  • Sufficient information to demonstrate the applicant’s ‘knowledge of and interest in’ the extended Field and the proposed artefact
  • Two letters of reference from existing well known members of the Association


The application will then be assessed by the Association’s Executive Committee , or Membership Committee constituted and mandated for that purpose, by means of an evaluation of the written submission and a  mandatory interview with the applicant , and the details recorded on the Association’s records .


The interview should follow a fairly structured approach , and should address the following issues (where applicable)  –


  1. How long has the applicant  been interested in / collecting firearms ?


  1. When did the applicant join the Association  ?


  1. What was the applicant’s declared theme / focus / field of interest when he/she joined , and how has this evolved ?


  1. Where applicable, did  the applicant’s original application to SAPS for bona fide status reflect the same information as his/her motivation to the Association ?


  1. Does the applicant have a copy of this application that  can be shared with the Committee ?





  1. In the case of ‘B’ or ‘A’ , did  the applicant’s  motivation to SAPS include Restricted or Prohibited firearms? ( Supported by an Affidavit if necessary )


  1. Where applicable , a brief description of the contents of the applicant’s  collection as it illustrates the above theme/ focus/ field of interest .


  1. In the case of ‘B’ or ‘A’ , if  the applicant’s  collection / status does not include Restricted or Prohibited firearms, include a description of  how the applicant’s field of interest / theme(s), focus has evolved , and why the applicant now wishes to include such artefacts in his/her collection .


  1. Description of which such artefacts the applicant intends to add to his/her collection .


  1. Description of the Historical, Scientific, Technological , Heritage, educational, cultural or artistic  aspects etc. of these artefacts, within the context of the applicant’s declared field of interest / theme .


  1. Given that such artefacts are regarded as “sensitive” by the authorities, is the applicant confident that his/her Safekeeping and Security arrangements are adequate ?



If the outcome of the interview and evaluation are acceptable , the member may be issued with a new membership certificate reflecting the change in Category , whereafter the member may apply to the SAPS for a new Competency Certificate in the changed category .




Further details and Application forms can be obtained from the SAAACA office