n Journal for Contemporary History - The clausewitzian trinity : reassessing the South African military's relationship with its polity and society

Volume 40, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0258-2422
  • E-ISSN: 2415-0509



This article provides an historic-theoretical understanding of civil-military relations in South Africa and an outline of important influences on South African civil-military relations at present. Historically, a well-developed professional officer corps shaped South African civil-military relations. Africa's post-independence history, though, is full of examples indicating that neglect of the military often translates into domestic risk and a dwindling of military professionalism. Post-apartheid South Africa seems to emulate this example. The South African military may be in the barracks at present. However, there are clear indications that, in the longer term, the military risks promotion of elite interests, patronage and uncompetitive practices rooted in a single political party. This tendency is rooted in a general decline of military professionalism due to factors such as a declining defence budget, obsolete military technologies, a diminishing role of Parliament in overseeing the military function, the nature of operations and institutional factors such as a distorted professional self-image of military personnel.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error