ACCORD supports South Africa’s Defence Review Committee with public engagement on defence and security issues
4 Dec 2012
ACCORD has hosted a two day public consultation on the draft 2012 South African Defence Review in South Africa. The consultations aimed to enrich the current work of the Defence Review Committee (DRC) on South Africa's defence policy by including perspectives from non-state-actors based in Kwazulu-Natal. ACCORD hosted the DRC's Kwazulu-Natal segment of the national consultations from 8-9 May 2012 in Durban, South Africa. Local stakeholders included representatives ranging from the academic community, non-governmental and civil society organisations based in KwaZulu-Natal, to the Embassy of the Swiss Confederation (Switzerland). The consultations provided an opportunity for local stakeholders in KwaZulu-Natal, and in the Durban area in particular, to review and comment on the draft Defence policy and strategy agenda encapsulated in the 2012 Defence Review document. The consultations were a necessary part of the independent review process, as they provided space for public engagement, participation and contributions to defence and security matters, and allowed the DRC to draw on the breadth of experience as well as engage with views from the cross-section of South African society representing and articulating expectations from the South African general public. ACCORD facilitated the interactive deliberations, which included presentations by the DRC on the developments and challenges that have taken place since the last review in 1998. The DRC also elaborated on the defence contribution to national security and foreign policy objectives, as well as South Africa's short and long-term defence policy and strategy agenda, as embedded in the current 2012 defence document. In particular, discussions were held with members of the public on the role of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in a democratic and developmental state. The consultations assisted the government as it reflects on the country's military and defence apparatus and policy, and renews its commitment to a "Defence within a Democracy" as part of a stable South Africa. ACCORD, as a renowned civil society organization focusing on peace, security and conflict management, and supporting African Member States in defence and security matters, supported and contributed to the South African Defence Review process as part of its aim to ensure a multidimensional approach to peace and security, and to highlight civilian contributions to and oversight of national and international peace and security. This process thus fits with ACCORD's Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding Unit's work on capacity building of institutions of governance, including the security sector, and in contributing towards enhancing South Africa's civilian capacity for its internal and international peace and security engagements. The Training for Peace Programme at ACCORD is an initiative funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For more information on ACCORD's work through the TfP programme contact Mr. Zinurine Alghali, Peacekeeping Unit Coordinator on Zinurine@accord.org.za, and Ms. Seun Abiola, Peacekeeping Unit Senior Programme Officer on Seun@accord.org.za.