This study is about South Africa’s diplomatic initiatives in the DRC from 1990 to 2009. It concentrates on the implementation of the transitional phase to prepare for the elections in 2006 and the implementation of the post conflict reconstruction and development (PCRD) projects from 2006 onwards. The study argues that South Africa’s ability to facilitate peace which ended a full-scale war in the DRC should be highly commended as one of its diplomatic achievements. Its experience of negotiations and mediation to end apartheid has placed it in a favourable position amongst other global players. It supported its ambition of ensuring that the development of the African Continent is prioritized on the global agenda. However, South Africa does not have any experience in transitional diplomacy and this study has highlighted that it needs sufficient capacity and strategies first before it engages in it. Such capacity should be informed by a full understanding of the receiving country in order to prepare the diplomats accordingly. Clarity of South Africa’s national interest in pursuing transitional diplomacy seems weak and therefore confuses ‘teams on the ground’ as they are not always sure how to manouvre within a very complex and highly contested country like the DRC. The role of the international community, members of the Great Lakes and the Congolese population has been highlighted as being critical to assist the DRC to achieve stability and sustainable peace. Without political will and leadership from the DRC leaders themselves, all diplomatic efforts will be futile. Ten years is a very short time to assess the success of post-conflict reconstruction activities but useful lessons have been drawn from this evaluation. They have enhanced our understanding of transitional diplomacy and some of them can be used as models and guidelines which will improve intervention in future projects.
Dissertation (MDiplomatic Studies)--University of Pretoria, 2010.