Military Reform: Interim Constitution Accord

Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act 200 of 1993, Chapter 14, Section 224 Establishment of National Defence Force:

(1) The National Defence Force is hereby established as the only defence force for the Republic.

(2) The National Defence Force shall at its establishment consist of all members of:

(a) the South African Defence Force;

(b) any defence force of any area forming part of the national territory; and

(c) any armed force as defined in Section 1 of the Transitional Executive Council Act, 1993 (Act 151 of 1993), and whose names, at the commencement of this Constitution, are included in a certified personnel register referred to in Section 16 (3) or (9) of the said Act: Provided that this subsection shall not apply to members of any such defence or armed force if the political organization under whose authority and control it stands or with which it is associated and whose objectives it promotes did not take part in the first election of the National Assembly and the provincial legislatures under this Constitution.

(3) Save for the National Defence Force, no other armed force or military force or armed organization or service may be established in or for the Republic other than:

(a) as provided for in this Constitution;

(b) a force established by or under an Act of Parliament for the protection of public property or the environment; or

(c) a service established by or under law for the protection of persons or property.

Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act 200 of 1993, Chapter 14, Section 225 Chief of National Defence Force:

Subject to Section 236 (1) and (2), the President shall appoint a Chief of the National Defence Force, who shall exercise military executive command of the National Defence Force, subject to the directions of the Minister responsible for defence and, during a state of national defence, of the President.

Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act 200 of 1993, Chapter 14, Section 226 Members of National Defence Force:

(1) The National Defence Force shall comprise both a permanent force and a part-time reserve component.

(2) The establishment, organization, training, conditions of service and other matters concerning the permanent force shall be as provided for by an Act of Parliament.

(3) The establishment, organization, training, state of preparedness, calling up, obligations and conditions of service of the part-time reserve component shall be as provided for by an Act of Parliament.

(4) The National Defence Force shall be established in such a manner that it will provide a balanced, modern and technologically advanced military force, capable of executing its functions in terms of this Constitution.

(5) All members of the National Defence Force shall be properly trained in order to comply with international standards of competency.

(6) No member of the permanent force shall hold office in any political party or political organization.

(7) A member of the National Defence Force shall be obliged to comply with all lawful orders, but shall be entitled to refuse to execute any order if the execution of such order would constitute an offence or would breach international law on armed conflict binding on the Republic.

(8) Provision shall be made by an Act of Parliament for the payment of adequate compensation to:

(a) a member of the National Defence Force who suffers loss due to physical or mental disability sustained in the execution of his or her duties as such a member; and

(b) the immediate dependants of a member of the National Defence Force who suffer loss due to the death or physical or mental disability of such a member resulting from the execution of his or her duties as such a member.

Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act 200 of 1993, Chapter 14, Section 227 Functions of National Defence Force:

(1) The National Defence Force may, subject to this Constitution, be employed:

(a) for service in the defence of the Republic, for the protection of its sovereignty and territorial integrity;

(b) for service in compliance with the international obligations of the Republic with regard to international bodies and other states;

(c) for service in the preservation of life, health or property;

(d) for service in the provision or maintenance of essential services;

(e) for service in the upholding of law and order in the Republic in co-operation with the South African Police Service under circumstances set out in a law where the said Police Service is unable to maintain law and order on its own; and

(f) for service in support of any department of state for the purpose of socio-economic upliftment.

(2) The National Defence Force shall:

(a) exercise its powers and perform its functions solely in the national interest by:

(i) upholding the Constitution;

(ii) providing for the defence of the Republic; and

(iii) ensuring the protection of the inhabitants of the Republic,

in accordance with this Constitution and any law;

(b) exercise its powers and perform its functions under the directions of the government of the Republic;

(c) refrain from furthering or prejudicing party-political interests;

(d) not breach international customary law binding on the Republic relating to aggression;

(e) in armed conflict comply with its obligations under international customary law and treaties binding on the Republic; and

(f) be primarily defensive in the exercise or performance of its powers and functions.

(3) The employment for service, training, organization and deployment of the National Defence Force shall be effected in accordance with the requirements of Subsection (2).

Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act 200 of 1993, Chapter 14, Section 228 Accountability:

(1) The Minister responsible for defence shall be accountable to Parliament for the National Defence Force.

(2) Parliament shall annually approve a budget for the defence of the Republic.

(3)(a) A joint standing committee of Parliament on defence shall be established, consisting of members of all political parties holding more than 10 seats in the National Assembly and willing to participate in the committee.

(b) The total membership of the committee shall be as determined by or under the rules and orders.

(c) Such a party shall be entitled to designate a member or members on the committee in accordance with the principle of proportional representation and as determined in accordance with the following formula:

(i) A quota of seats per member of the committee shall be determined by dividing the total number of seats in the National Assembly held jointly by all the parties referred to in Paragraph (a) by the total number of members of the committee plus one.

(ii) The result, disregarding third and subsequent decimals, if any, shall be the quota of seats per member.

(iii) The number of members that a participating party shall be entitled to designate on the committee, shall be determined by dividing the total number of seats held by such party in the National Assembly by the quota referred to in Subparagraph (ii).

(iv) The result shall, subject to Subparagraph (v), indicate the number of members that such party is entitled to designate on the committee.

(v) Where the application of the above formula yields a surplus not absorbed by the number of members allocated to a party, such surplus shall compete with other similar surpluses accruing to another party or parties, and any member or members which remain unallocated shall be allocated to the party or parties concerned in sequence of the highest surplus.

(d) The committee shall be competent to investigate and make recommendations regarding the budget, functioning, organization, armaments, policy, morale and state of preparedness of the National Defence Force and to perform such other functions relating to parliamentary supervision of the Force as may be prescribed by law.

(4)(a) The President shall, when the National Defence Force is employed for service referred to in Section 227 (1)(a), (b) or (e), forthwith inform Parliament of the reasons for such employment.

(b) If, in the case of such an employment referred to in Section 227 (1)(a) or (b), Parliament is not sitting, the President shall summon the joint standing committee referred to in Subsection (3) to meet expeditiously, but not later than 14 days after the commencement of such employment, and shall inform the committee of the reasons for such employment.

(5) Parliament may by resolution terminate any employment referred to in Section 227 (1)(a), (b) or (e), but such termination of employment shall not affect the validity of anything done in terms of such employment up to the date of such termination, or any right, privilege, obligation or liability acquired, accrued or incurred as at the said date under and by virtue of such employment.

Implementation History

1993

Minimum Implementation

In the 1970s and 1980s, the apartheid regime had the backing of a 90,000-strong South African Defense Force (SADF), along with support from militias of the homelands, Transkei, Venda, Bophuthatswana, and Ciskei, which totaled 11,000 soldiers. There were about 28,000 guerrillas of the ANC (also know as Umkhonto We Sizwe or MK), and 6,000 guerrillas of the Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC). In negotiations, the ANC and PAC sought military integration (MI) and military reform to bolster the ANC-led government’s control over the armed forces. The SADF favored the absorption of the militias into the already established force, led primarily by white officers.1

The 1993 Accord (Interim Constitution) established the South African National Defense Force (SANDF). The multi-party Transitional Executive Council (TEC) was established and given the challenge of controlling seven armies, regular and irregular, and 11 police forces. The TEC bill provided for seven sub-councils, including the sub-councils on defense and policing.2 As part of the reform, the MK and PAC combatants were to be integrated in a new national military.

The South African Defence Force (SADF) and the ANC reached an agreement on the principles of military integration at Simons town in April 1993.3

  • 1. Stephen F. Burgess, “Fashioning Integrated Security Forces after Conflict,” African Security 1, no. 2 (2008): 77.
  • 2. "New group to rally mixed army of South Africa's fighting men," The Herald (Glasgow), September 9, 1993.
  • 3. Norma Kriger and Patrick Bond, “Negotiations and the Military in South Africa," Africa Today 42, no. 1/2, The Military and Democratic Transitions (1st Qtr. -2nd Qtr., 1995), pp. 124-133; also see Hugo van der Merwe and Guy Lamb, "DDR and Transitional Justice in South Africa: Lessons Learned" (2009), accessed June 11, 2010, http://www.ictj.org/en/research/projects/ddr/country-cases/2384.html.
1994

Minimum Implementation

In April 1994, seven forces were combined into one, constituting the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), as laid out in the Interim Constitution of 1993. The reduction of funds allocated to defense rendered the Joint Military Co-ordinating Committee (JMCC) strategic planning process, which had envisaged a SANDF strength of 90 000, unaffordable. Therefore, a demobilization and/or rationalization process also had to established. According to van Stade, “A Personnel Rationalisation Work Group (PRWG) has been instituted in order to oversee the rationalisation process from within the SANDF. The composition of the PRWG includes representatives from all the constituent forces, the Secretary for Defence and memebrs of the British Military Advisory and Training Team (BMATT), and is aimed at ensuring a transparent process within the margins of fair labour practices. This work group has recently instituted a sub-work group to make proposals in respect of psychological and social support to members and their families who will be affected by the rationalisation process in the SANDF. A special Consultation Forum has also been established to negotiate with employee organisations in respect of civilian members that could be affected by the rationalisation process."4

The New South African National Defence Force (SANDF) was created in 1994 and designed to reintegrate some 21,000 members of the military wing of the ANC, and 6,000 from the armed wing of the PAC into SANDF.5

The SANDF reported said that almost half of the MK members who reported to the assembly point northeast of Pretoria had to be turned away, as their names had not been on the list provided to them by rebel leaders.6

  • 4. L. B. van Stade, “Rationalisation in the SANDF: The Next Challenge,” African Security Review 6, no. 2 (1997), accessed December 6, 2010, http://www.issafrica.org/Pubs/ASR/6No2/VanStade.html.
  • 5. Keesing's Record of World Events, Volume 40, October, 1994, South Africa, p. 40215.
  • 6. "SOUTH AFRICA; Defence Force turns away non-listed MK members," BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, June 15, 1994.
1995

Intermediate Implementation

Approximately 10,500 former Umkhonto we Sizwe and Azanian People's Liberation Army [APLA] troops were integrated into the South African National Defence Force by June 12, 1995. “Two had been commissioned at the rank of lieutenant-general and nine at that of major-general”. In an interview dated February 15, 1995, South African President Mandela stated that the “integration of former guerrillas into the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) was going "very well."7

By May 24, 1995, 11,464 recruits were in a pre-selection phase or had been placed. A total of 11,224 letters of appointment had been issued, of which 10,427 were accepted. According to the statement of General Meiring, 43 percent, or 15,416 of the 34,800 former MK and APLA troops wishing to be integrated, had reported at assembly areas. Of these, 10 had since been arrested for serious crimes. According to a statement, “another 1,535 had joined the South African Police Service, resigned or had been dismissed for absence without leave."8

On July 11, 1995, members of the ANC Military Wing (MK) who were not assimilated into the SANDF were asked, for the last time, to report to the Wallmannsthal base on July 25, 1995. All former MK members whose name appeared on either the certified or noncertified personnel registered were asked to report.9

  • 7. "South africa; Mandela says SANDF integration going 'very well,'" BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, February 16, 1995.
  • 8. "SOUTH AFRICA; Nearly 10,500 MK and APLA troops appointed to SANDF," BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, June 14, 1995.
  • 9. "SOUTH AFRICA; "Last chance" appeal for former MK members to join SANDF," BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, July 13, 1995.
1996

Full Implementation

“Of the approximately 28,000 originally registered Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) and 6,000 Azanian People's Liberation Army (Apla) members, about 16,000 reported for integration and, of these 4,000 chose to demobilize."10 According to a news report, approximately 18,000 former MK and APLA members reported to the SANDF force during the 18-month reintegration process, which ended in November 1996.11

  • 10. "South Africa; Army marches into the future," Africa News, November 8, 1996.
  • 11. "SOUTH AFRICA; Nearly 18,000 former guerrillas integrated into army in 18 months," BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, December 10, 1995.
1997

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

1998

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

1999

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2000

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2001

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2002

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.