Clouds at the horizon? Security challenges in South Africa´s post-transition period


  • Camilla Elowson

Publish date: 2009-06-18

Report number: FOI-R--2765--SE

Pages: 74

Written in: English


  • democratisation
  • security challenges
  • foreign policy


This report analyses political developments in post-transitional South Africa, with a view to signal possible threats to the domestic and regional security situation. This report, commissioned by the Ministry of Defence, is divided into three parts. A first ambition is to describe key tendencies that have emerged as increasingly pressing problems during the ANC rule up until now. This involves community level concerns, as well as governance issues. Secondly, the significance of the latest political events in south Africa, including the new political leadership and an altered political landscape, is analysed. Finally, some implications of the current political context for the South African internal stability, as well as for South Africa´s will and capacity to engage in peace and democracy in the region, are discussed. This includes assessing the development of South African domestic and foreign policies under the new president Jacob Zuma. The country´s strong commitment in terms of African peace and security is likely to be shifting towards a focus on delivery at the domestic front. Concerning South Africa´s diplomatic engagement in Zimbabwe, it is assessed to be limited in the coming years. Other regional risks include a declining international confidence in South Africa, which would undermine its role as a stabilising force in the region. On the domestic level, hostile protests and local violence could be the consequence of failed expectations among the population as well as of the uncertainty brought on by the new political landscape. The growth of a tougher opposition could also expose problems associated with the ANC rule in a more successful way. This risks provoking violent reaction among people benefiting from the patronage and crony systems, as well as leading to the ruling party taking a more authoritarian approach to secure its grip on power.

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