The unit was originally founded in May 1967 as the State Presidents Guard when Charles Robberts Swart was the State President of South Africa. It was dissolved in 1990 ahead of the first democratic elections in 1994. The unit was rebranded in September 1996 as the National Ceremonial Guard. The NCG's old uniform of dark green tunic with black pants was reinstated after it was reestablished. In April 2008, the NCG moved into the Sebokeng Military Complex by order of the president.
The NCG takes part official state functions such as the opening of Parliament, and the welcoming ceremonies of visits by international leaders and statesmen to South Africa. It also provides guards of honour at inaugurations of Presidents, state funerals and certain national monuments.
The NCG Band is the military band unit attached to the NCG. It currently serves as the senior most band of the entire SANDF. Both the NCG and its military band have been sent to different countries to perform in military tattoos and other international events. Since 2001, the band has undertaken the role of training military bandsmen from Namibia and Botswana.: 4–11