Danish Defence Research Database


An uncertain future: South Africa’s National Defence Force caught between foreign-policy ambitions and domestic development: Lessons learned from SANDF deployment in CAR and DRC

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

In June 2015, the South African Parliament passed the long-awaited defence review (DR2015). The aim of the review was to stop the decline of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and to create an economical and sustainable force structure capable of continuing to fulfil its constitutional obligations and to support the country’s foreign policy, primarily in relation to Africa. However, implementation of the DR2015 has turned out to be difficult. The major claim of this article is that the processes of demilitarisation and transition since the end of apartheid, combined with years of underfunding and the lack of a priority given to the SANDF has reduced the latter’s professional military capabilities to such an extent that in the future it will find it difficult to function in the active international role it has played since the end of the 1990s. The reduced role of the SANDF is also an illustration of South Africa in general prioritising domestic developmental and security challenges, as well as its footstep in Africa. The study is based on extensive empirical data collection in South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the form of a string of semi-structured qualitative interviews, primary documentary research and an extensive academic literature review conducted from 2000 to 2017.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Eastern African Studies
Pages (from-to)136-153
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2017

    Research and development areas

  • CAR, DRC, Congo, Central African Republic, PSO, Peace enforcement, Military Assistance, African Union, South Africa in Africa, SANDF


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