Originally Scottish Rite degrees in South Africa fell under the Supreme Council for the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The First Chapter, de Goede Hoop, was founded on 26th of June 1851.
The Netherlandic Craft was the first Freemasons involved in South Africa by establishing the first Masonic Lodge in South Africa under the jurisdiction of the National Grand Lodge of the United Netherlands with the formation of Lodge de Goede Hoop in Cape Town on 2 May 1772.
Only after 39 years, during 1811, a number of Brethren submitted a petition to the Grand Lodge of England to establish an English-speaking Lodge in Cape Town under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of England. The petition was granted, and a warrant was issued and the British Lodge, the first Lodge under the Grand Lodge of England, was duly established in Cape Town. The presence of the Grand Lodge of Scotland was only petitioned in 1860 (88 years later) to establish a Lodge in Cape Town under their jurisdiction. The petition was granted, a warrant was issued and Lodge Southern Cross was duly established in the de Goede Hoop temple during 1860. The presence of Freemasonry under the Grand Lodge of the Netherlands remained in South Africa as the Provincial Grand Lodge of Southern Africa (except the Transvaal) and the Provincial Grand Lodge of the Transvaal until 1961 saw the formation of the Grand Lodge of South Africa. The formation of the Grand Lodge of South Africa in 1961 from the Lodges of the Grand Lodge of the Netherlands, therefore, gives it the longest involvement in Freemasonry in South Africa.
The logical progression of Freemasonry in South Africa since 1961 led to the eventual establishment of Supreme Council activities. The first Rose Croix Chapter established in 1851 under a charter from the Netherlands. An important event was the erection of the Grand Lodge of South Africa out of the Lodges under the Grand East. During that period the numbers of Chapters increased to 29 and in the Scottish Rite the 3 Areopagi were raised to the status of Consistory while 4 new Areopagi were established. In May 1988 an agreement was reached between the Netherlands Grand Chapter of the High Degrees and the Supreme Council for the Netherlands to transfer authority over the Rose Croix Chapters in Southern Africa to the Supreme Council for the Netherlands.
The official transfer took place on the 16th of March 1989 in Johannesburg simultaneously with the establishment of the Regional Council 33° for South Africa. This Regional Council assumed the delegated authority over all Chapters, Areopagi and Consistories in Southern Africa on behalf of the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite for the Netherlands. This was an important step as organisationally it laid the foundation for the logical last step, the creation of a sovereign and independent Supreme Council for South Africa.
A formal petition for the establishment of a Supreme Council was directed to the Supreme Council for the Netherlands by the required number of Sovereign Grand Inspectors General namely nine Perfect Elus, on the 17th and the 22nd of February 1992, the former from the Grand Lodge of South Africa, the latter from the Regional Supreme Council.
The Supreme Council for the Netherlands on 9 May 1992 during a Special Meeting unanimously agreed to grant this request. Further, the Report goes on to show that the recognition was inclusive of not only the Netherlandic but also the Supreme Council for England and Wales which culminated on 23rd June 1992 with the Most Illustrious Brethren Klopper, Groenewald and Klemptner being authorised to proceed with the regular establishment of a Supreme Council in South Africa. In the result, South Africa originated from the Supreme Council 33° Ancient and Accepted Rite for the Netherlands. A South African Supreme Council of Sovereign Grand Inspectors General was officially formed on 24 July 1992.
On 29th August 1992, the Supreme Council of the 33rd and last degree of the Scottish Rite for South Africa was constituted in a formal Supreme Council meeting during which the Statutes and Regulations were formally approved and adopted. The Supreme Council for South Africa was thereafter officially consecrated on 28 November 1992.
The line of descent of the Supreme Council for South Africa is as follows:
- Southern Jurisdiction USA 1801,
- France 1804,
- Low Countries (presently Belgium) 1812,
- Netherlands 1912.
As at 24 January 1998, the Supreme Council for South Africa comprised 9 Sovereign Grand Inspectors General. This is in accordance with Article V of the Grand Constitutions that each Supreme Council will consist of nine Sovereign Grand Inspectors General of the 33°. As the Brethren were all Sovereign Grand Inspectors General 33°, members of a regular and recognised Supreme Council and residents of the Republic of South Africa, this procedure was in accordance with the requirements of the Grand Constitutions for the establishment of a regular Supreme Council.