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National Security Strategy

Under Apartheid, the RSA Government's National Security Strategy was based on the concepts of cooperative co-existence, non-alignment, self-determination and self-sufficiency, deterrence, cross-border operations, support to anti-Marxist resistance movements in neighbouring states, counter-revolutionary movements and the maintenance of law and order. The RSA Government made it clear that the RSA was not pursuing a policy of aggression against any state or group of states, or contemplating any territorial expansion, but that the RSA would defend its people against any threat.

In this regard the security forces should have the means to preserve the highest democratic body, i.e. Parliament and afford it an opportunity to bring about changes to the RSA's political dispensation in an evolutionary way, so as to meet the constitutional and cultural needs of its peoples. The SADF was pre-eminently a peacekeeping task force, but owing to the perceived threat and the increasing instability in Southern Africa, the SADF strategy was directed at ensuring the security of the people of the RSA by taking offensive pro-active steps.

As of late 2011 the Defence Review Committee was finalising the Draft Defence Policy for the SANDF, the last policy review was done in 1997, and in 2011 the policy is no longer relevant to the challenges and the commitment of the SANDF. SANDF will continue to work with other defence Forces in the region to patrol the SADC waters, support other law enforcement agencies and to do joint exercises and training and the SANDF will have to strengthen its relations with its neighbors for effective border patrol and training and sharing of infrastructure. South Africa would continue to play a role in stabilising the region, facilitating economic development and being a logistics partner during elections and major disasters. They also noted that the SANDF through its Navy must take a lead in patrolling the SADC waters.

The focus of the governments engagement on the African continent is to promote development, contribute to the resolution of conflicts, and build an environment in which socioeconomic development can take place. The governments view is that socioeconomic development cannot take place in the absence of peace and stability, as these constitute the necessary conditions for sustainable economic development. Similarly, socioeconomic development is critical to addressing the root causes of conflict and instability. Testament to the aforementioned is the respect the South African Army has earned from the United Nations, the African Union and the Southern African Development Community as a formidable player in peace-supporting operations.

In this regard, the government supported the armys continued participation in peace-supporting operations, inter alia, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Sudan and Uganda, averaging a total of 2 894 members being deployed in various external missions. However, these external missions need focused resourcing to ensure their success. The invitation to South Africa to join the BRIC Brazil, Russia, India and China economic bloc, its nonpermanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, and its role in the African Union Security Council require, among other things, that South Africa strengthen the capacity for intervention. South Africa needs to continue contributing to the promotion of peace, security and stability through, among other things, engaging in preventive diplomacy and sustaining our involvement in peacekeeping operations in Africa.

The Defence Strategy provides the strategic direction for the achievement of the departments core objectives that are aimed at attaining its vision. Taking cognisance of the rapidly changing geostrategic and macro-economic environment that places limitations on the defence capability to respond appropriately, the Defence Strategy endeavours to meet these ever-changing challenges, especially since they have implications for human security. The strategy acknowledges that many of the human security threats are nonmilitary in nature.

The foundation of democratic governance has been characterised by efforts aimed at pioneering the institutionalisation of civil-military relations. The Defence Strategy strengthens and consolidates the sound basis upon which civil-military relations are founded. It underscores the need for the requisite resources to provide for both the core and other functions of the Department of Defence and Military Veterans, as prescribed in sections 200 and 204 of the Constitution.

The chiefs of the South African Army (SA Army), South African Air Force (SAAF), South African Navy (SAN) and the South African Military Health Service (SAMHS) are responsible for providing combat-ready defence capabilities in accordance with the military strategic objectives and operational requirements. Each (staff) division must structure, position and maintain itself to provide forces able to participate successfully, as part of a joint, interdepartmental and multinational grouping, in the execution of all missions.

Each formation has its own commander. A group system includes, where practical, all units and support elements related to a specific user-system type. Each group system/formation is capable of providing a fully supported usersystem to a commander responsible for the exercising and combat-readiness of land, air, maritime and military health capabilities, such as a brigade or division commander. A group system/formation can provide the same service to a task-force commander appointed by the Chief of Joint Operations. This is a considerable improvement in costeffectiveness, while it also provides the best way of retaining core defence capabilities, especially expertise in critical mass function.

Border safeguarding entails the following:

  • Deploying permanent self-supported and sustained light mobile forces on all geographical borders throughout South Africa.
  • Deploying air and maritime assets to control the maritime environment and enforce state authority at sea.
  • Employing air and landward assets to enhance the integrity of the air space, assist with airspace control and enforce state authority.
  • Employing mobile ground, air and maritime sensors to enhance detection, and support interdepartmental and multinational operations.
  • Deploying information warfare capabilities to support border safeguarding operations.
  • If necessary, limited military operations to intercept and interdict the identified adversary can be conducted using available land, air, maritime and special forces capabilities. This requires a high degree of interdepartmental and regional cooperation.
The phased return of the SANDF to cover the over 4 471 km of land border between South Africa and Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe has strengthened the safety of South African citizens and those of the SADC. Four companies have been deployed and are respectively based at Musina and Pontdrift along the Zimbabwe/Botswana/South African border, Macadamia along the Mozambique/Mpumalanga border and Ndumo along the Mozambique/Kwa- Zulu-Natal border. The SANDF will be fully established on the South African borders by 2014/15.

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Page last modified: 12-10-2012 18:43:18 ZULU