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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Military Spending, Socio-Economic Challenges and Foreign Policy Demands: Appraising South Africa's Predicament
Author:Neethling, Theo
Periodical:African Security Review
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:public expenditure
Military, Defense and Arms
Politics and Government
Economics and Trade
Inter-African Relations
international relations
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10246029.2006.9627622
Abstract:The extensive reduction of defence expenditure for postapartheid South Africa has created challenges for force development and preparation as well as the ability of the armed forces to deliver on expectations. For example, budgetary allocations were more than halved between 1989 and 1997, a development that was soon followed by a stagnant 1.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) defence allocation. This decline in financial resources also manifested itself in the human resources element, reducing the 93,000 posts declared in 1999 to the projected 70,000. Against this background, South Africa's socioeconomic commitments as well as deployments in support of foreign policy have continued to escalate forcing the current expenditure revision to rise to 2 percent of GDP. However, against the considerations of an increasing influence and interest in Africa and international affairs, even with a domestic unemployment rate of 42 percent and widening income disparities, this investment is considered worthwhile. The South African government should be commended for its minimalist approach, in which there is a careful mix of foreign policy, economic rationality and limited military involvement to produce a militarily credible capacity that is consistent with the country's ability to finance but whose main task is to operate in support of its wider interests on the African continent. In the final analysis, if South Africans should compare what they are paying for the military, they would actually discover that they are paying far less than most other nations. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]