The South African Defence Review: a Contrarian Perspective

"Through an initiative of the Minister for Defence and Military Veterans, South Africa embarked on a Defence Review in 2011. The Defence Review Committee held its inaugural meeting on 14 July 2011 during which the Minister outlined the Committee’s Mandate and Terms of Reference. The Mandate of the Committee was, above all, to independently articulate ‘a defence policy that is supportive of the Government’s priorities and strategic intent’. In early 2012, the Committee issued its Consultative Draft report for wider public engagement and comment. Even though the Committee was mandated to assess ‘the Defence contribution to South Africa’s international agenda and the promotion of regional and continental peace and stability’ the Review seemed to revert to a classical and orthodox reading of the national defence requirements for states, with a predominant focus on national domestic security. This article will adopt a contrarian perspective towards the Review and argue that a threat assessment based on insecurity trends in the region, and across the continent, over the next five years would suggest that South Africa needs to articulate and adopt a more pronounced Pan-African Defence and Security Posture (PDSP)."