Skip to main content

The Transformation of the South African Security Sector: Lessons and Challenges




Fifteen years since becoming a democracy, South Africa has made considerable progressin the reinforcement of democratic principles and institutions. The overhaul of the security sector in South Africa is sometimes hailed as an example for countries emerging from conflict. As in many of these countries, the roles of security actors had to be redefined during the transitional phase and they had to be brought under civilian control. The purpose of this paper is to consider the political agreements that redefined the role of the security forces during the period of political negotiations, to evaluate the policy frameworks and initiatives undertaken by the post-apartheid administrations and to consider the lessons learned and the challenges that remain in the country’s security sector transformation.