Considerations on Defence Thinking in Post-1994 South Africa with Special Reference to Post-conflict Reconstruction and Development

Theo Neethling


This article revisits some of the main arguments presented (in the South African context) since the late 1990s in relation to the regional security demands placed on the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) on the one hand, and the configuration of the force design imposed on the SANDF on the other.  These issues are of great relevance to the South African Department of Defence’s recent (2012) official pronouncements and related defence thinking on the current and future external role of the South African military, specifically with regard to post-conflict reconstruction and development.  The aim of the article is to examine the dynamics of recent years – philosophical and practical – that gave rise to the policy “move” or “shift” from defence in a democracy (1998) to defence, security and development (2012).[i] In addition, the article aims to analyse and discuss the new comprehensive guidelines for defence force design in the Draft Defence Review 2012 and reflects on some of the most important policy implications for the SANDF in this regard – specifically given the demands placed on the SANDF in the field of post-conflict reconstruction and development.  The author contends that the Department of Defence has now gained a clearer idea or perspective of what the future role(s) of the South African military should be through the assessment of its function, principles and goals expounded in the Draft Defence Review 2012.

[i] At the time of writing it was planned to replace the Defence Review 1998, which was published under the theme of Defence in a democracy, with a new Defence Review 2012, to be published under the theme Defence, security, development.


Post-conflict reconstruction and development; Defence Review; Defence thinking; Peace missions; South African National Defence Force; Defence capabilities

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Copyright (c) 2018 Theo Neethling

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

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