Title page for ETD etd-11062007-083518

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Potgieter, N A
URN etd-11062007-083518
Document Title Terrorism as a threat to national security in South Africa since 1994
Degree MSS
Department Political Sciences
Advisor Name Title
Prof M Hough
  • domestic terrorism
  • national security
  • priority setting
  • security agenda
  • security threat
  • terrorism
  • third world security
  • international terrorism
Date 2006-11-19
Availability restricted

After the end of the Cold War the paradigm of national security broadened to include additional sectors of security which were not previously associated with the narrow concept of security. This changed paradigm extended to South Africa as well, and it became evident after 1994 that national security in South Africa was a holistic concept. The emphasis of national security was, in addition to sectors such as military and political security, also on economic and environmental security. In the post-Cold War paradigm of national security, terrorism was initially viewed as a secondary issue, and resources were rather allocated to secure development and reconstruction.

However, there have been dynamics in the South African context that demanded the re-evaluation of terrorism as a security threat. The international manifestation of terrorism amplified the need for a reassessment of the threat of terrorism.

It is in this context that this study was undertaken. The objective of this dissertation is to assess the significance of terrorism as a threat to national security in South Africa since 1994. It takes into consideration developments over a period of mainly ten years. The study ascertains whether the terrorism of the post-Cold War era changed in manifestation and extent, and, taking into account a new concept of terrorism, whether it could still be regarded as a primary security threat in South Africa.

The dissertation provides a perspective on the theory of national security, with specific reference to the challenges of the developing state. It indicates that the concept broadened to include additional aspects of security that were not previously associated with the traditional paradigm of national security.

Resources are scarce, and all issues of national security cannot be afforded equal prominence, and consequently, issues for security attention need to be prioritised. The criteria used to determine what constitutes the security agenda, centre on the type and intensity of the specific threat and the perception of policy makers regarding the threat. These criteria are used in the study to evaluate terrorism as a security threat in South Africa after 1994.

The dissertation points out that the threat of terrorism has diversified markedly since the end of the Cold War. It provides a categorisation of the new terrorism, and current trends in the global context. Incidents of domestic terrorism occurred in South Africa prior to and after 1994, which are reviewed to determine the type and intensity of the threat of terrorism for South Africa. No country is however immune to international terrorism, and the impact of international terrorism is thus also assessed in the dissertation.

The official policy and policy pronouncements of the South African government and adherence to international conventions and protocols on terrorism are analysed to determine the official South African appreciation of the threat of terrorism.

Given the combination of the nature of terrorism as a security threat; the intensity of the threat in the South African context; and the perception of the South African government of the urgency of the threat of terrorism, it is concluded that terrorism has become a threat to national security in South Africa after 1994.

University of Pretoria

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