A DIVERSE SOCIETY, A REPRESENTATIVE MILITARY? THE COMPLEXITY OF MANAGING DIVERSITY IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN ARMED FORCES

Lindy Heinecken

Abstract


After providing a brief background as to why issues of diversity management
within armed forces have become important internationally, this article outlines the
diversity challenges facing the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).
The first part of the article describes how the racial, language/ethnic and gender
profile of the SANDF has changed since 1994 and the tensions this has evoked. The
second part provides a brief conceptual framework against which diversity
management in the SANDF can be interpreted, whereafter the various diversity
management programmes instituted over the years to cultivate a respect for diversity
are outlined. It is argued that the predominant emphasis on ‘workplace diversity’ at
the cost of ‘valuing diversity’ has meant that existing stereotypes and tensions
within the ranks have remained, with dire consequences not only for the
cohesiveness and effectiveness of the SANDF, but also for civil-military relations.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5787/37-1-58

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Copyright (c) 2018 Lindy Heinecken


ISSN 2224-0020 (online); ISSN 1022-8136 (print)

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