Justin Sylvester, Annette Seegers


The South African government’s Strategic Arms Package (SAP), has been
the largest public controversy of the post-Apartheid era. We synthesise the debates
about two dimensions of the SAP, military necessity and affordability, in order to
get a better understanding of civil-military relations in democratic South Africa. Our
synthesis shows that the economic enthusiasm about the SAP is both naïve and an
opportunity for government and dominant business and industry to wed their
interests in a way that is not that different from the Apartheid era. In military terms,
the SAP has equipped the South African Air Force (SAAF) and South African Navy
(SAN) for the most improbable of primary missions. The equipment is also not very
relevant to secondary missions. The way that the SAP decisions were reached
suggests that civil-military relations are marked by the continuing impact of past
compromises, corruption and the centralisation of power in the executive branch.

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Copyright (c) 2018 Justin Sylvester, Annette Seegers

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

Creative Commons License -CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

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