Negotiating for civilian control: strategy and tactics of Umkhonot we Sizwe (MK) in the democratic transition of South Africa
Mollo, Lekoa S.
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South Africa offers an important model of how nations can make the transition to democracy. The experience of South Africa reflects its own unique history and political circumstances, which differ from those of other nations. Nevertheless, the history of the establishment of democratic civilian control in South Africa offers potentially valuable lessons for other nations to adapt and apply to their own challenges. This thesis examines and analyzes how civilian control over the South African National Defense Force was established, especially over the functions of defense-budgeting and policy. It seeks to describe how the leadership of the Umkhonto we Sizwe: meaning the Spear of the Nation" (MK - the military wing of the African National Congress), pursued those negotiations with their counter parts in the South African Defense Force. I would argue that the military might of the apartheid regime, SADF, was still very powerful and the regime could have still exploited that power to overwhelm MK in the negotiations on the future of South Africa. The SADF also posed a major risk, as it possessed the potential to stage a coup in post-apartheid South Africa. To remedy this ostensible imbalance, ANC concluded that for the negotiations to be fruitful and successful, the political playing field had to be leveled. To do this, all parties participating in the negotiation needed to have equal status, especially the government and the ANC as the two major role- players. This, the ANC argued, would ensure that the apartheid government was not a referee and a player at the same time.
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