The Relationship Between the South African Foreign Policy and the Millenium African Recovery Plan

Essay, 2013

34 Pages


The relationship between South Africa and MAP emanates from South Africa's Foreign
policy which advanced: Promotion of justice, democracy and human rights as well as
prosperity and security achieved through economic development. South Africa's philosophy
of African Renaissance directed at rejuvenating and renewing Africa to transform the
continent into an arena of peace, security and stability, was blended into MAP.
Economically, South Africa's adoption of neo-liberal policies in MAP were encouraged by
South Africa's incorporation of neo-liberal visions in MAP have been influenced by the
country's adoption of Growth, Equity and Redistribution (GEAR) in 1996. GEAR became the
macro-economic framework for all policies of the government whose aim was to make South
Africa the preferred destination for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) as well as allowing the
country to occupy a comfortable position in the rapidly globalising world. However, MAP has
been grappling with numerous challenges and its dependency underpinning. These
challenges include structural, endogenous and exogenous factors which continue to
constrain Africa's endeavours.

1. Introduction ... 4
2. Evolution of South African Foreign Policy ... 4
2.1. Apartheid Era: Total Strategy ... 4
2.2. Democratic Foreign Policy ... 9
President Mandela's Regime: Idealism ... 10
2.2.2. President Thabo Mbeki's Regime: Realism ... 16
2.2.3 African Renaissance ... 18
2.2.4. Millennium Partnership for African Recovery (MAP) ... 24
3. Conclusion ... 27
Bibliography ... 32

This paper focuses on the relationship between South African foreign policy and MAP.
The paper explores foundations and the evolution of South African foreign policy dating back
to the apartheid foreign policy which has been perceived as pariah to the current democratic
foreign policy of a middle power operating along multilateral avenues and being perceived as
a pivot. Throughout the paper, the reader is afforded the opportunity to witness the
operationalization of the South African foreign policy objectives; the African Renaissance,
and the Millennium African Recovery Plan (MAP), which are the cornerstones of the
relationship between South Africa and MAP. South Africa remains one of the progenitors of
MAP which worked assiduously to promote and implement the plan throughout the
continent. It is therefore imperative to scrutinise the relationship between the two.
Evolution of South African Foreign Policy
2.1. Apartheid Era: Total Strategy
Pfster in Youla (2009) explains after World War I, South Africa progressed towards a
position in which it relished to enter into relations with other states without any interference
from Britain, its coloniser. At the Paris Conference, in 1919 it was decided that the British
dominions should acquire international status. Consequently, South Africa became a
member of the League of Nations. After a year of its membership, the country was appointed
as a mandatory power over South West Africa (now Namibia) with direct accountability to the
Council of the League. At the 1926 Imperial Conference, the dominions were recognised as
autonomous nations within the British Empire, equal in status to Great Britain and in no way
subordinate to one another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs. Freedom from
Britain persuaded South Africa to create its own Department of External Affairs in 1927

which became the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1960. Interest in external relations
resulted in South Africa establishing diplomatic missions in many parts of the world.
According to Adebajo et al. (2007), South Africa's elevation as a leading international
player cajoled the country to play a firm role in African international relations during 1940s.
In April 1940, during a speech delivered at the country's main agricultural and industrial
show, the then Prime Minister, Jan Smuts requested for an urgent adjustment of the
country's approach to African affairs. Le Pere (1998) adds that Smuts explained and
emphasised that for South Africa's wishes to take "its rightful position by leading in Pan
African development; shaping of the future policies and developments of the continent," then
the country was supposed to face the realities and facts of that time and seize available
opportunities being offered. In that context, Africa would be a proper market if South Africa
has crafted vision and a broad sighted policy. Smuts realised that South Africa could not be
entirely isolated from her neighbours and the continent. However, the country was supposed
to undertake initiatives aimed at cajoling African states to forge socio-economic and political
links with her neighbours. Those links would benefit South Africa largely because she was
the most industrialised and developed country at that time.
During the late sixties, the white minority government revisited Smuts' vision by
developing two conceptual approaches suitable for South Africa's relations with Southern
Africa and the African continent. Those concepts were the Détente and Dialogue utilised to
seek continental approval for South Africa's racial policies and diplomatic recognition of its
soon to be independent homelands.
However, as that was the case with apartheid South Africa, there was more to that
because it was during the height of modernisation, and the vision of South Africa to develop
and advance Africa was within South Africa's diplomatic outreach. Over and above, the
rhetoric that accompanied those successive diplomatic moments was based on substantial
returns for South African business, which reciprocally supported a range of additional

initiatives to accelerate the goals of apartheid's quest for an African destiny. Unfortunately,
the Dialogue and Détente failed and became victims of the cold war divide and the minority's
blind faith in apartheid than the ability or unwillingness of South African business community
to support its government (Nolutsungu, 1975).
By the late seventies, President Botha's endeavoured to reach his predecessor's
ambition by presenting a proposal to Southern African states to form the Constellation of
Southern African States (CONSAS) with Southern African states. The vision of CONSAS
was premised on the concept of sub-regional integration entailing the creation of a formal
group of states in Southern Africa based on South Africa's centrality and dominance within
the sub region. The Constellation was anticipated to include Southern African states such as
Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana, Zambia, Zaire, Angola
and the independent Namibia, including South African homelands regarded as de facto
states by the international community. Those homeland states were Transkei,
Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei (Swart and Du Plessis, 2004). The South African
government utilised the vision of homelands system as means to persuade Southern African
states to buy into the vision of CONSAS. Homeland's inclusion in CONSAS was aimed at
diluting the ingredients of whiteness and apartheid which were threats to neighbouring
Solomon (2004) adds that the vision of CONSAS was premised on inducing states within
the region to enter into a non-aggression pact with South Africa to promote the concept of
mutual defence against the common enemy. Furthermore, the intention of that pact was
aimed at locking South Africa's immediate neighbours firmly into the South African economic
system in order to increase their dependency on and South Africa's leverage over them,
thereby distracting them from assisting South African liberation movements and or preparing
for a military onslaught. In March 1979, the South African Foreign Minister, Pik Botha, in the
so called Zurich Declaration, formally announced the "anti-Marxist" CONSAS perceived as a
platform for regional security and economic bloc of between seven to ten states.

The promotion of CONSAS was encapsulated in the Total National Strategy espousing
apartheid regime's necessity to mobilise economic, political and military resources for
defending and advancing the interests of the country nationally and regionally levels and to
maintain a commanding military balance relative to the states of Southern Africa. In this
regard, the State Security Council (SSC) coordinated by the National Joint Planning Centre
which transformed the South African executive into a civil-military junta was established. The
new military technocrats prepared and delivered a regional strategic policy premised on
armed force for reversing the liberation movements' insurgency by instituting a counter ­
revolutionary strategy of destabilisation, called swaardmag which is the power of the sword.
By implementing these policies and architects, the South African government launched
scathing total onslaughts of military action against neighbouring states. For example, there
were myriad large-scale invasions of and Trans-border incursions into Angolan territory and
raids against African National Congress (ANC) residences in Lesotho, Mozambique, Angola,
Zimbabwe and Botswana (Neethling, 2003). The apartheid government was aiming at
entrenching a military fear among its neighbours to coerce them to release and never
harbour liberation movements.
Matheba (2003) explains that Botha's foreign policy establish CONSAS has been inspired
by his praetorian impulse rooted in his Total Strategy. Botha employed that strategy in his
dealings with the continent where he attracted Western Governments and worked hard
create an impression that South Africa was a bulwark against communism in Southern
Africa. He attempted to win hearts and minds of South Africa's neighbours by initiating
bilateral security agreements and other economic means aimed at developing favourable
military and political landscape. In that regard, CONSAS was developed. However when that
strategy failed he embarked on a robust military campaign which left thousands of people
without shelter and livelihood. Military aggression, economic blackmail and wanton
destruction of life and property became defining characteristics of the apartheid foreign

policy. That policy failed to win the hearts and minds of Southern Africans and intensified
international isolation against racism.
The expose` reflected above, highlights that the South African Foreign Policy was based
on the regulation of the preservation and protection of the white minority sovereignty. The
white state was preserved through promulgation of draconian decrees which were
marshalled by the segregation policy of apartheid. Domestically, the custodians of the white
minority government ensured that blacks acquired the form of training and education that
would make them submissive and subservient. Any means that challenged apartheid were
subdued and subjugated through incarceration without trial (Van Niewkerk, 2001). The
apartheid government maintained that it was obliged to elevate white supremacy nationally
and domestically. Any counter to this vision would be obliterated, that is the reason why the
government of the day went in leaps and bounds to develop exogenous policies which would
preserve the white supremacy and exceptionalism.
South Africa's segregation policy received a lukewarm welcome internationally. The chief
antagonist of South African white supremacy was the United Nations (UN) which launched
scathing criticisms against the country. Much of the ad hoc sessions of the UN were devoted
to find suitable solutions directed at the dismantling of apartheid. Subsequently, the
President of the General Assembly disallowed South Africa's participation in UN's activities.
That disgusted South Africa and the country responded by recalling Pik Botha, its
Permanent Representative at the UN. Furthermore, the apartheid regime withheld its
contributions to the UN. Neo-liberalism was exposed when other key stakeholders in
international relations exposed their dissent concerning South Africa's behaviour.
The Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) and International Olympics
Committee (IOC) expelled South Africa from its structures. Conversely, the Organisation of
Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) imposed an oil embargo on South Africa beckoning
her to rescind apartheid. This outlines that in international relations states are not the only

powerful players but there are other role players in the form of non-state actors such as
MNCs (Knight, 2001). Foreign Policy making of the apartheid era acted as an Oligarchic
Bureaucratic process. Decision-making was curtailed and centralised within the hands of a
small, elite, white and male sector. White electorate, pressure groups and white members of
the ruling party were excluded from this exercise (Barber and Barrat, 1999).
2.2. Democratic Foreign Policy
According to Tjemolane (2011) the collapse of communism including the mounting
political pressure from the international community provided the vision historical opportunity
for the apartheid government to initiate basic political changes which necessitated the
release of Nelson Mandela, the unbanning of the ANC and other political movements as well
as the political negotiation dialogue that followed in the early 1990s. Subsequently, that
resulted in the abolition of the apartheid government system. In that regard, the Government
of National Unity (GNU) comprising of the ANC, the National Party (NP), other minority
political parties and labour movements was assembled on an interim basis.
Alden and Le Pere (2003) explain that as South Africa remained one of the most
important countries because of its size and economic strength, the country was confronted
with the challenge of constructing democratic institutions and an inclusive non-racial society
from an acrimonious legacy of decades of legalised racism and ideological chasm. In
addressing those confrontations, the Government developed a liberal constitution which
formed the cornerstone for universalising the state and its institutions commensurate with
the civil society as well as replacing the narrow supremacy of apartheid.
Matheba (2003) adds that post-1994; South Africa developed a new framework to
address relations with her neighbours. That was motivated by the fact that apartheid foreign
white minority's national interests and advancement of western interests in the continent.
South Africa aimed at advancing Africa's interests by attaching great importance to the
region as well as perceiving Southern Africa as a pillar upon which her foreign policy rests.

That perception resulted from subjective and objective reasons. Subjectively, that referred to
murderous destabilisation campaign of the 1980s, while objective reasons implied
geostrategic and demographic considerations.
Mills (1998) explains that Presidents Mandela and Mbeki have since 1994 been attentive
to construct the new foreign policy to end many years of the country's international isolation.
They managed to transform South Africa's foreign identity from a "Pariah state" to an
"international pivot", however their approaches conformed to two opposing theories of
international relations, being idealism and realism. Mandela's idealist foreign policy focussed
on justice, democracy, human rights moral compasses guiding South Africa's Foreign policy,
while Mbeki's foreign policy was premised on prosperity and security where South Africa
would become the real partner in Africa to promote South Africa's interests.
2.2.1 President Mandela's Regime: Idealism
In 1994, the first national democratic elections took place and the ANC reigned victorious.
The "new democratic" ANC-led government was instituted. Subsequently, the country's
foreign policy was re-formulated against the backdrop of the new Constitution of the
Republic of South Africa, Act 108 of 1996. The GNU was established to narrow divisions
between blacks and whites so that the atmosphere of peaceful co-existence gravitated
towards the rebuilding of the country should be harnesses and developed. The foreign policy
of the new South Africa promoted the bill of rights which advocated for the promotion of
democracy and protection of human rights in the country's engagement with its continental
neighbours and global world (interview).
According to Spence (2001) South Africa's foreign post-apartheid foreign policy has been
African-oriented and particularly devoted to the Southern African region. It has been
committed to the "transformation" of the continent and the globe (Johnston, 2001). South
Africa's post 1994 foreign policy content further addressed critical policy matters including
human rights, peace and prosperity. That was emphasised when during 1993-1994, the
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The Relationship Between the South African Foreign Policy and the Millenium African Recovery Plan
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This is a paper extracted from the Doctoral Thesis "The new Partnership for Africa's Development. Challenges and Prospects" also available at
map, south africa, foreign policy
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Ignatius Mabula (Author), 2013, The Relationship Between the South African Foreign Policy and the Millenium African Recovery Plan, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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