Assessing the role of South Africa in Burundi

This paper assesses the role of South Africa in the Burundian conflict between1999- 2004. This paper analyses the role of Third Party intervention and the role played by the international community in resolving the Burundian civil war. The main purpose of this research paper is to investigate the role played by external actors in African civil conflicts and in this case, specifically looking at South Africa’s leading and challenging role in resolving the civil conflict in Burundi. The research design that has been followed in this paper was a qualitative approach. This approach was utilised to collect information which is sensitive in nature so as to explain the circumstances surrounding the conflict and the resolution thereof. The information was then collected and then analysed to provide a qualitative explanation of the events that had occurred and issues surrounding Third Party intervention. Respondents were informed that their confidentiality of the interviews would be respected. This investigation was guided by assessing South Africa’s efforts in the management and facilitation of the peace process in Burundi in partnership with key external parties such as the UN, AU and Regional Initiative for Peace in Burundi. An assessment was also conducted around the limitations and the level of success encountered by South Africa’s involvement in pursuit of diplomatic, political and military initiatives. In the literature survey, conflict resolution, mediation and Third Party intervention forms the framework of this research paper. This paper proves that South Africa played an instrumental part in the Burundi civil conflict, in which their participation, be it foreign policy initiatives, diplomatic efforts and military power or the central mediation role by South African president Nelson Mandela. This paper discusses that the Burundi conflict did not occur simply due to the animosity that existed between ethnic groups however this was a large contributing factor and the struggle for political power explains the root cause to the Burundi civil conflict and the manner in which politicians manipulated ethnicity, past injustices and policies of divide and rule as mechanisms and tools to gain power thus ensuring economic advantage at the expense of others.
Thesis (M.M. (Security))--University of the Witwatersrand, Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, Graduate School of Public and Development Management, 2012.
Peacekeeping, Burundi, South Africa, Conflict, Civil war