The Society is a voluntary organisation which was established in 1908 with a vision of promoting science and the education thereof and recognising excellence in research and scholarship in South Africa. This it achieves by :
1. promoting science through Special Projects such as organising expeditions, administering scholarships and competitions
2. arranging conferences, symposia & colloquia on specialised topics
3. arranging lectures by expert speakers at four local Branches
4. facilitating the exchange and development of scientific ideas and knowledge, especially in the interdisciplinary context both locally and abroad
5. publishing a peer-reviewed scientific journal and an informal newsletter
6. liaising with other scientific bodies and organisations
7. recognising excellence in scientific research, through various awards, such as medals.
The Society is self-funded via its Membership and donations. It is run by an elected voluntary Council and employs one part-time office administrator.