The South African Government adopted a new policy approach to national security in 1996. Whilst this contemporary approach is acknowledged, particularly in raising the political profile of issues such as poverty, environmental matters and human rights, it nevertheless raises concern about its sustainability in the long term, particularly with regard to the overwide agenda that views national security in the broad sense to incorporate political, military, economic, social and environmental matters. This concern resulted in the need to appraise the significance of the factors that underpin the fundamental shift in South Africa's approach to national security; to conduct an assessment of the understanding and perceptions held about South Africa’s approach to the national security; and to propose some measures which Government can use to sustain the new approach to national security including possible areas for further research. This study was carried out following a qualitative research methodology that combines both the descriptive and analytical approaches. The descriptive approach largely draws from the literature survey of primary and secondary sources while interview questions were formulated with the intention of eliciting perceptions held by a selected group of individuals about South Africa’s approach to national security. The findings confirmed that notwithstanding the elevation of the political profile of nonmilitary issues in the country’s new paradigm on national security, its most 100 important shortcoming is to seemingly automatically elevate these nonmilitary issues to the status of national security issues. The research finding also established that South Africa’s contemporary approach to national security is understood differently by the different strata of society, including a skewed perspective within the security forces. Most importantly, the study indicates that there is a requirement to adjust and align the imperatives of 1994 with the emergent realities of 2004 and beyond through the institution of requisite changes with a focus towards an integrated national security policy. It is therefore clear that a number of issues regarding South Africa’s current approach to national security need to be further debated and researched including the underlying assumptions, but also the further operationalisation and implementation of national security policy.
Dissertation (MSS(Security Studies))--University of Pretoria, 2008.