South Africa and the Search for Strategic Effect in the Central African Republic

Francois Vreÿ, Abel Esterhuyse


This article provides a critical assessment from a strategic perspective of the South African military involvement in the Central African Republic that culminated in the Battle of Bangui. The strategic assessment was aimed at an understanding of the South African armed forces and their government’s strategic approach and logic (i.e. strategic ways) through a consideration of, firstly, their strategic objectives and end states and, secondly, a critical reflection on the military means that were available and employed in the Central African Republic. The authors question the logic of South African political and military objectives through an emphasis on the absence of South African interests in the Central African Republic, the failure of the executive to inform parliament, the dubious and blurred intentions of the African National Congress government and the absence of a clear political–military nexus for the operation. The lack of sufficient military capabilities for the deployment was assessed through a consideration of overstretch, obsolescence, neglect and mismanagement of military resources. The article concludes that not only did the government set the military up for failure; it also succeeded in creating the perfect conditions for a strategic fiasco. 

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Copyright (c) 2018 Francois Vreÿ, Abel Esterhuyse

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

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