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Selected excerpts relating to security structures and perceptions of national security in South Africa since 1994.

3.1 Constitutional principles

Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (Act No. 108 of 1996) -- Assented to 8 May 1996 (*)



Governing principles

198. The following principles govern national security in the Republic:

(a) National security must reflect the resolve of South Africans, as individuals and as a nation, to live as equals, to live in peace and harmony, to be free from fear and want and to seek a better life.

(b) The resolve to live in peace and harmony precludes any South African citizen from participating in armed conflict, nationally or internationally, except as provided for in terms of the Constitution or national legislation.

(c) National security must be pursued in compliance with the law, including international law.

(d) National security is subject to the authority of Parliament and the national executive.

Establishment, structuring and conduct of security services

199. (1) The security services of the Republic consist of a single defence force, a single police service and any intelligence services established in terms of the Constitution.

(2) The defence force is the only lawful military force in the Republic.

(3) Other than the security services established in terms of the Constitution, armed organisations or services may be established only in terms of national legislation.

(4) The security services must be structured and regulated by national legislation.

(5) The security services must act, and must teach and require their members to act, in accordance with the Constitution and the law, including customary international law and international agreements binding on the Republic.

(6) No member of any security service may obey a manifestly illegal order.

(7) Neither the security services, nor any of their members, may, in the performance of their functions--

(a) prejudice a political party interest that is legitimate in terms of the Constitution; or

(b) further, in a partisan manner, any interest of a political party.

(8) To give effect to the principles of transparency and accountability, multi-party parliamentary committees must have oversight of all security services in a manner determined by national legislation or the rules and orders of Parliament.

(*.) Selected excerpts.

3.2 Perceptions of national security

Defence in a Democracy White Paper on National Defence for the Republic of South Africa -- (As approved by Parliament, May 1996) (*)


National security policy and the RDP

In the new South Africa national security is no longer viewed as a predominantly military and police problem. It has been broadened to incorporate political, economic, social and environmental matters. At the heart of this new approach is a paramount concern with the security of people.

Security is an all-encompassing condition in which individual citizens live in freedom, peace and safety; participate fully in the process of governance; enjoy the protection of fundamental rights; have access to resources and the basic necessities of life; and inhabit an environment which is not detrimental to their health and well-being.

At national level the objectives of security policy therefore encompass the consolidation of democracy; the achievement of social justice, economic development and a safe environment; and a substantial reduction in the level of crime, violence and political instability. Stability and development are regarded as inextricably linked and mutually reinforcing.

At international level the objectives of security policy include the defence of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of the South African state, and the promotion of regional security in Southern Africa.

The Government of National Unity recognises that the greatest threats to the South African people are socio-economic problems like poverty, unemployment, poor education, the lack of housing and the absence of adequate social services, as well as the high level of crime and violence.

(*) Selected excerpts from the White Pager as reprinted in Defence in a Democracy, Department of Defence, Version two, p 3).

RSA, White Paper on Intelligence 1995 (*)

3.3 Towards a new national security doctrine

The maintenance and promotion of national security (i.e. peace, stability, development and progress) should be a primary objective of any government. Since intelligence is an instrument to achieve this goal, the two concepts inevitably represent two sides of the same coin.

The traditional and more narrow approach to security has emphasized military threats and the need for strong counteraction. Emphasis was accordingly placed on the ability of the state to secure its physical survival, territorial integrity and independence, as well as its ability to maintain law and order within its boundaries. In this framework, the classic function of intelligence has been the identification of military and paramilitary threats or potential threats endangering these core interests, as well as the evaluation of enemy intentions and capabilities.

In recent years, there has been a shift away from a narrow and almost exclusive military-strategic approach to security. Security in the modern idiom should be understood in more comprehensive terms to correspond with new realities since the end of the bipolar Cold War era. These realities include the importance of non-military elements of security, the complex nature of threats to stability and development, and the reality of international interdependence.

This more comprehensive approach to security is also endorsed by organisations like the UN and the OAU. This approach is inter alia reflected in the Kampala document of the OAU (19th May 1991) where a process was set in motion known as the Conference on Security, Stability, Development and Cooperation in Africa (CSSDEA). The purpose of this document was "providing a comprehensive framework for Africa's security and stability and measures for accelerated continental economic integration for socio-economic transformation".

The intermingling and transnational character of modernday security issues furthermore indicate that solutions to the problems of insecurity are beyond the direct control of any single country and cannot be rectified by purely military means. The international security agenda is shifting to the full range of political, economic, military, social, religious, technological, ethnic and ethical factors that shape security issues around the world. The main threat to the well-being of individuals and the interests of nations across the world do not primarily come from a neighbouring army, but from other internal and external challenges such as economic collapse, overpopulation, mass-migration, ethnic rivalry, political oppression, terrorism, crime and disease, to mention but a few. Consequently, "security is defined less in military terms and more in the broader sense of freedom from vulnerability of modern society", in the words of an American scholar.

New thinking on security has the following key features, which should form an integral part of the philosophical outlook on intelligence:

-- Security is conceived as a holistic phenomenon and incorporates political, social, economic and environmental issues.

-- The objectives of security policy go beyond achieving an absence of war to encompass the pursuit of democracy, sustainable economic development and social justice.

-- Regional security policy seeks to advance the principles of collective security, non-aggression and Peaceful settlement of disputes.

The broader and modern interpretation of the nature and scope of security leads to the conclusion that security policy must deal effectively with the broader and more complex questions relating to the vulnerability of society. National security objectives should therefore encompass the basic principles and core values associated with a better quality of life, freedom, social justice, prosperity and development.

Applied to the South African context, the new approach to security holds that the Reconstruction and Development Programme, as an organised and collective effort of our society led by the Government of National Unity, is integral to and forms the core of the country's emerging national security doctrine. The RDP's efforts to meet the basic needs of our people, develop our human resources, build our economy, and to democratise our state and society will be in the final analysis, one of the determinants of genuine peace and lasting security.

Democracy and participation are fundamental to the success of the RDR Democracy must mean the empowerment of all South Africans to effectively participate in the process of governance and in matters that affect them. Democratisation must ensure the modernisation of the structures and functioning of government in the pursuit of efficiency, effectiveness, responsiveness, transparency and accountability. In short, democratisation ensures "good governance".

The following lessons learned from the negotiation process should become central to the new national security doctrine:

-- the determination and ability to arrive at consensus;

-- the maturity to ensure the inclusiveness of the political process; and

-- the ability to reconcile deep-seated political and social conflict.

The national security doctrine must promote the creation of a societal environment that is free of violence and instability. It must engender, within the context of a transformed judicial system, respect for the rule of law and human life.

(*.) Selected excerpts.

3.3 Perceptions of national strategy

RSA: National External Security Strategy (NESS): Draft input into Chapter Six of the National Growth and Development Strategy (*)


1.1 An external security strategy to cope with the challenges facing South Africa in the new post Cold War environment must be built on cooperation with other partner states and with international organizations with the aim to foster a regional, continental and global environment of peace and stability in which growth and development, democracy and respect for human rights can prosper. This approach represents a clear break with the security paradigm of the old era (isolation, antagonism and destabilization) and seeks to neutralise threats to South Africa's national security by way of a foreign and security policy based on efficient diplomacy, sound intelligence and a credible defence capability through which peaceful coexistence, preventive diplomacy, bridge-building, and the peaceful settlement of disputes can be pursued with maximum effect. Within this broad perspective the emphasis should be on the security and long-term political and economic stability of the entire sub-continent, since South Africa's na tional security cannot be sustained in an unstable or insecure region.

1.2 In today's world, a state's ability to cope with external challenges to its security is largely determined by its national economic strength and global competitiveness. In view of the unfinished transformation process in South Africa, and the primary importance of regional reconstruction and development and sustained economic growth, the goal of South Africa's foreign and security policies is to secure a safe and beneficial environment for these processes to continue unhindered. It is therefore essential to pursue a National External Security Strategy (NESS) which will progressively enhance and sustain South Africa's ability to successfully pursue its own and regional interests.


2.1 To conduct South Africa's foreign and national security policies in a manner which consistently promotes, maintains and protects a peaceful and secure external environment as a necessary condition for the sustained growth, development and security of the country.


The NESS concentrates on crucial strategic focal areas which embody the main security challenges and opportunities facing South Africa in the changing international arena. These are:

-- Protecting and promoting South Africa's national interests in a competitive world

-- Contributing towards international peace, stability and security

-- Promoting regional security in Southern Africa

-- Projecting a defensive and non-threatening military posture

Integral to the above focal areas, a national intelligence capability must be assured in order to support informed decision making at the national level and also provide fore-knowledge facilitating pro-active decision making and strategy information.

3.1 Protecting and promoting South Africa's national interests in a competitive world

South Africa's diplomatic, intelligence, and defence capabilities are among a spectrum of instruments available to protect and promote its national security. Bilateral and multilateral diplomacy must therefore be used to create a favourable international environment for the active promotion and protection of South Africa's security interests. Under prevailing international and external conditions South Africa's and the Southern African region's security are particularly vulnerable to external economic conditions. The South African economy is largely dependent on trade and international markets, as well as foreign aid and investments. Access to global resources and foreign markets and the protection of our own interests from unwarranted foreign influence or manipulation must be assured. From a national security point of view, this will place challenging demands on South Africa's diplomatic, commercial, intelligence and counter-intelligence capability, which must be geared towards the protection of beneficial e xternal ties and enhancement of our global competitiveness, so as to generate resources that can be utilised in sustaining the security and welfare of the state and the region. South Africa's security is also closely linked to its new role and status in global and regional diplomacy. The new moral legitimacy brought about by South Africa's successful transition from apartheid to democracy gives us a special niche in world diplomacy. Maintaining this status is of primary importance for the effectiveness of the NESS.

3.2 Contributing towards international peace, stability and security

South Africa's commitment to international peace, stability and security should in general be demonstrated through constructive participation in relevant international fora such as the UN and OAU, the conclusion of bi- and multilateral security and arms control agreements, and its support for international efforts in conflict prevention and resolution. Although realism will have to dictate South Africa's contribution, the country is in a unique position to lead through example and to act as a peace facilitator. Priorities in this regard are:

3.2.1 To develop and maintain a capability to support and/or participate in and contribute to multilateral peace support operations;

3.2.2 Compliance with accepted international norms in the trade of arms, whilst protecting and promoting South Africa's armament industry as a source of security, strategic independence prestige, influence and foreign earnings; and

3.2.3 Support for the combatting of transnational threats ie:

-- Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems and related technology;

-- International terrorism and extremism;

-- Organised crime and narcotics trafficking; and

-- Issues related to environment degradation.

3.3 Promoting regional security in Southern Africa

In Southern Africa (the SADC region), South Africa's priority is to encourage cooperative problem solving and to promote common security as an equal partner. This objective should be promoted through a regional security mechanism for the prevention and management of intra- and interstate tension, crisis or conflict. South Africa's endeavours will focus on early warning intelligence, preventive diplomacy, peace support operations, and the development of policy conformity and operational compatibility within the region with regard to armed forces and security related matters. A regional effort is also essential to address cross-border crime, illegal immigration and organised crime syndicates operating in Southern Africa.

In addition to the above-mentioned, long-term stability in Southern Africa should particularly be addressed through economic and development policies and programmes for the region. The long-term social and security vulnerability of Southern Africa arises primarily from non-military issues such as the potential for instability and turbulence caused by under development, illegal immigration, uneven progress and the tensions these may create on an interstate level.

3.4 Projecting a defensive and non-threatening military posture

Although South Africa is not facing any direct military threat, in the short and medium term, and has no aggressive intentions towards other states, an appropriate state of defence readiness must be maintained. South Africa will continue to need a core defence capability to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country and to serve as a deterrent against potential aggressors. The main challenge is to transform the armed forces so as to reduce the defence burden while maintaining the capability to face new and different challenges. For this purpose the strategy must be to establish and portray a strategic defensive and non-threatening military posture, that will enhance confidence and security building measures within and beyond the Southern African region. However, a defensive military posture based on a strategy of deterrence can only be credible if backed by an effective military capability.

(*.) Selected excerpts. Source: RSA, Department of Foreign Affairs, "National External Security Strategy: Draft input into Chapter Six of the National Growth and Development Strategy", Occasional Papers No 1/96, pp 16-18.
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Publication:Institute for Strategic Studies
Article Type:Topic Overview
Geographic Code:6SOUT
Date:Nov 1, 2000
Previous Article:The management of security affairs in South Africa: 1994-2000.
Next Article:The concept of threat analysis. (Part III: Changing Threat Perception).

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