The 2014 South African Defence Review: Rebuilding after years of abuse, neglect and decay


After three tortuous years, cabinet approved the Defence Review in March 2014.

The review is a huge improvement on the previous public document. Its 15 chapters include considerable background material that may not all have been necessary – but given the state of the SANDF, this is as much a manual to fix the department as it is a path towards the future.

The result is a mixture of matters that relate to internal administration, policy, strategy, military doctrine, discipline and human resources. Although it does not set out alternative force design options, the review does present the costs of its preferred option.

This policy brief interprets a number of the review’s key conclusions and presents associated policy considerations, with a focus on the financial affordability of the expenditure targets.

About the author

Dr Jakkie Cilliers is the Executive Director of the Institute for Security Studies. He is an Extraordinary Professor in the Centre of Human Rights and the Department of Political Sciences, Faculty Humanities at the University of Pretoria. He also serves on the International Advisory Board of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) in Switzerland and as a member of the board of advisers of the Center on International Conflict Resolution, Columbia University, New York.

Media coverage of this Policy Brief:

Defence Review

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