The Ceasefire Campaign: Comments on the Status of the SANDF reserves
The Ceasefire Campaign's aims and objectives are inter alia
The organization has its roots in the anti-apartheid struggle. Prior to the new dispensation. South Africa was a highly militarized society. With the dissolution of End Conscription Campaign and other organizations concerned with conscription, a vacuum existed to address issues of disarmament, demilitarization and peace. The Ceasefire Campaign was then formed by a group of peace activists with the above objectives. The name Ceasefire was inspired by Tokyo Sexwale's order to ceasefire at Chris Hani's funeral
Ceasefire Campaign seeks to address the principles around various components of the
Reserve Force as follows:
Army Territorial Reserve (Commandos)
The Ceasefire Campaign fully supports the proposed phasing out of the commandos. Although they are appreciated for the contribution they play in rural security, they are an apartheid construct and were initially formed to react to "unrest". We support fully the suggestion that a news system be introduced "whose composition and ethos accord with requirements of all rural communities".
Notwithstanding the contribution the commandos have made in the rural protection plan in the past, the extent of their effectiveness is limited particularly as they are mainly concerned with the security of one race group. The fact that the processes to phase out the commandos will be done in conjunction with the South African Police Services is welcome, however we believe the following concerns should be adequately addressed before the planned phase out process is completed.
1. The process does not create gaps or vacuum in security provision.
Ceasefire is concerned that a gap or vacuum in provision of security whether real or perceived may encourage vigilantism or privatization of security services as it is currently .being demonstrated by countless private security companies throughout the country. Ceasefire Campaign will strongly oppose the privatization of security services because it is a basic fundamental right that should not be compromised.
2. The phase out plan must clearly demonstrate the capacity, skills and readiness of the SAPS to take over all the functions that were previously performed by the commandos. A process must be in place to build capacity for the SAPS to be ready for a complete take over of all the functions of the commandos. This will include training and retraining of SAPS, it may also require more personnel and lots of improvements of the infrastructure and services being provided by police stations. Research has shown that what is sorely needed - even more than the strength that the commandos may have provided - is better intelligence gathering and detective work. This will result in better prevention, detection and prosecution of crimes perpetrated against farmers. In short, better policing skills are needed.
Schonteich and Steinberg (Attacks on farms and smallholdings) make the point that the rural protection plan needs to be more inclusive of all people in farming and rural communities. They mention that the relationship between farmers and traditional labour has become increasingly hostile and query why the plan has failed to address the relationships between black and white. These are starting points for addressing the problem of rural security in a non- militaristic way.
We are also enjoined to mention at this point that addressing issues of poverty and a greater sharing of resources, will contribute to greater security in rural areas
The Army Conventional Reserve
The Ceasefire Campaign noted that there is no clarity in terms of ideal numbers reserves required by each division or service. Further noted that there are repeat mentions of budgetary constraints without elaboration of how the current reserve forces are being recruited, remunerated and trained, therefore makes the following recommendations:
1, Conscription must not be brought back through the back door as a recruiting strategy for all the reserve forces.
2. Given the peacekeeping roles South Africa continues to play in the continent, it will be ideal to establish training courses for civilians in peace building, conflict transformation and resolution. To avoid the militarisation of such course responsibility for them should not fall under the SANDF.