Africa Notes: The SADF Revisited - July 1991
July 16, 1991
One point on which all relevant political elements in South Africa agree is that whatever government emerges from the tortuous transition now under way will need for its survival a loyal and competent military. Toward this end, President F.W. de Klerk has set in motion some reforms of the ideology, structure, and personnel of the South African Defense Force.
For the SADF to become the reconciling force envisaged by de Klerk, it must assuage black fears and suspicions, while at the same time calming white fears about the transition to a postapartheid government. A crucial test of this homogenizing a:bility will come as it joins-either as the result of the creation of a new military or through an integration of existing forces-with the African National Congress military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe ("Spear of the Nation").