7 January 2019

South Africa's Military At a Crossroads

Photo: Flickr
March Past by the South African Medical Services.

South Africa has myriad development priorities and observers are right to ask why the nation should be spending money on its military when sectors such as public education and infrastructure are also in great need of investment. While it is a question worthy of serious consideration by policymakers, a simple answer is that a robust defence capability is required of any nation with aspirations for continental leadership.

South Africa's martial traditions and military heritage run deep. This fact was fully evident at the City of Johannesburg's official Remembrance Day commemorations on 11 November 2018, which I had the honour to attend. As this was the centenary of the end of the First World War, the event was particularly poignant and South Africa's outsized contribution to that horrific conflict featured prominently.

The Remembrance Day tribute to South Africa's servicemen and women served as a welcome respite from the steady stream of disheartening news about the declining funding and diminishing capabilities of the South...

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