Reassessing civil control of the South African armed services

Show simple item record Hepburn, Clyde Brad 2018-01-10T10:06:44Z 2018-01-10T10:06:44Z 2016
dc.identifier.citation Hepburn, Clyde Brad (2016) Reassessing civil control of the South African armed services, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, <>
dc.description A research report submitted to the Faculty of Management, University of the Witwatersrand, in 50% fulfilment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Management (in the Field of Security). March 2016 en_ZA
dc.description.abstract Defence Review 2015 concluded that the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) was in a “critical state of decline”, faced imminent and irreversible loss of capabilities and questioned its ability to meet all of its ordered defence commitments (Department of Defence, 2015c, pp. ix; 99). This is a grave indictment considering it is entrusted with the constitutional mandate to defend the Republic (Republic of South Africa, 1996, Sec 200). This begs the question “what went wrong?” Causes raised include the apparent disjuncture between the defence mandate and budget. It is unlikely, however that the blame can be attributed to a funding shortfall and overly ambitious defence mandate, alone. Some question whether a flawed institutional civil control structure might be to blame for compromising military command and thereby the ability of the armed forces to ensure effective defence. Did the new government go too far in imposing robust civil control over the SANDF in 1994, effectively emasculating the SANDF? Alternatively is the selected model for South Africa’s civil control and oversight regimes simply inappropriate or otherwise ineffective? Whether the failure lies with the selected model itself or in its execution are issues that were examined in the study. This study takes as its point of departure, various Defence Review 2015 policy proposals that, it was argued, point to deeper flaws in the institutional civil-military arrangements within the DOD. As such, they are fundamental to our understanding of the civil control challenges confronting the DOD and the formulation of policy options and recommendations. What the study highlighted was that the ultimate challenge for the DOD could be reduced in simple terms to finding an agreeable solution that would satisfy both the statutory civil control precepts and the Chief SANDF’s desire for freedom from undue interference with his executive military command. Central to the entire civil control debate is of course the balance DOD design, around which the DOD transformation project is structured, and the role of the Sec Def in exercising civil control in a ‘collaborative relationship’ with the Chief SANDF. There is general consensus that the balance DOD design has 1 Colonel C.B. Hepburn, late of the Transvaal Scottish, is employed on a term contract as Deputy Director Departmental Performance Monitoring and Evaluation; Defence Policy, Strategy and Planning Division; Defence Secretariat. His staffing at the integrated Defence Head Office provided him with access to the strategic level of defence policy decision-making and daily engagement with senior leaders at the point of interface between the ‘civilian’ Defence Secretariat and the Defence Force. The views expressed in this student academic research paper are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of Defence or any other agency of the South African government. C.B. HEPBURN 416498 failed to live up to expectations and that it has proven difficult to establish and maintain the optimum balance between civil control and an effective armed service. What is equally obvious is that even after more than two decades of democratic consolidation; the DOD has yet to complete its transformation. If Defence Review 2015 is anything to go by then it can be expected that the process is set to continue for at least the next 25 years. That civil control remains a contested concept within the DOD is not in doubt. The solutions may be elusive; however, there is strong evidence that the answers lie more with how the Def Sec should be capacitated rather than the current focus on repositioning to better enable civil control of defence and to perform the duty assigned to it. Structural issues are clearly a factor and should indeed be dealt with in the broader DOD reorganisation. Nonetheless, there is a strong argument presented that instead of restructuring, better use should be made of performance agreements, delegations and detailed instructions. Given that the DOD is recognised in law as a ‘special case’, there should be a strong legal argument for amending the applicable legislation to make provision for a ‘special delegation regime’ or performance agreements, as a solution to the DOD’s immediate needs for providing an effective armed service. Keywords: Civil control; oversight; Defence Review 2015; South African National Defence Force; armed services; budget; civil-military relations; Constitutional mandate; defence ministry, military command and control, defence secretariat. en_ZA
dc.format.extent Online resource (v, 200 leaves)
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.subject.lcsh South Africa--Armed Forces
dc.subject.lcsh South Africa--South African Defence Force
dc.subject.lcsh National security--South Africa
dc.subject.lcsh Civil-military relations--South Africa
dc.title Reassessing civil control of the South African armed services en_ZA
dc.type Thesis en_ZA
dc.description.librarian GR2018 en_ZA

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