Africa: A Reluctant Hegemon - the SANDF and Its 'Defined' Role in Sub-Saharan Africa


In the wake of the July unrest and peacekeeping challenges on the continent, newly appointed SANDF head General Rudzani Maphwanya and his team must formulate, develop and adopt policy options at the strategic and tactical operational levels that will satisfy President Cyril Ramaphosa's expectations of 'ushering in substantial change'.

Professor Martin R Rupiya, PhD, is executive director at the Dag Hammarskjöld Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies. Read the full discussion paper on this topic written for The Brenthurst Foundation here.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has replaced Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and moved state security into the Presidency following the failure of security force intelligence to predict and pre-empt the violence which flared across the country after the jailing of former president Jacob Zuma.

But how should the SANDF be restructured to align it with the country's priorities and to prevent a recurrence of these events?

At the end of May 2021, Ramaphosa announced sweeping changes to the new military command of the SANDF, following the retirement of the long-serving General Solly Zacharia Shoke. Shoke was replaced by Lieutenant-General (promoted to general on 1 June) Rudzani Maphwanya, accompanied by new appointments heading the other branches of the force.

In the president's...

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