n African Security Review - Reframing South Africa's arms industry : guns and butter : feature

Volume 13, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1024-6029
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Having developed an arms industry of extraordinary depth and breath of capacity, the advent of the De Klerk presidency in 1989 dramatically affected the South African military establishment and its defence industry as budgets were slashed, procurement came to a standstill and the industry was reorganized. Subsequent majority rule did not auger well for the defence industry, yet, a decade later, by 2004, the armaments industry was not only thriving, but had managed to embed itself in the long-term security vision of the state. Key moments in this process was the inclusive and consultative development of the South African White Paper on Defence in 1996, the Defence Review in 1998, and a White Paper on South African Defence Related Industries the following year. Today the relationship between the industry and the government is again close and South Africa's arms producers constitute an interesting combination of intertwined public and private sector entities, ranging from Armscor, Denel and Defencetek in the public sector to private arms producers embedded in large industrial groupings and a heterogeneous host of smaller autonomous enterprises.

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