The intelligence regime in South Africa (1994-2014) : an analytical perspective
Van den Berg, Matthias Adriaan
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Intelligence, having espionage as its roots, is sometimes misunderstood due to its secret nature. It is due to this that intelligence as a vital component in a state, could be misused by the political regime through less democratic practices that infringe on human rights and the rule of law. The quest of this study (which is not classified, to make the research findings available to both practitioners and scholars of intelligence studies), is to attempt to contribute to the theory and understanding of intelligence studies as a sub-field within the political science in describing, explaining and analysing the intelligence regime. The primary aim is to provide a contextualised and systematic overview of the South African intelligence regime within the framework of the democratisation process in South Africa with specific reference to the period from 1994 to 2014. This study analyses the intelligence regime in South Africa by specifically assessing the role, function and purpose of intelligence through history and within the context of the South African political regime. Therefore, the research problem examined in this study is: given the history and development of South Africa as a democracy, what is the role and function of the intelligence regime during the period 1994 to 2014 – specifically to determine whether intelligence practices were more or less democratic. The theoretical framework formed the basis from which the concepts of state, political regime types and form and degree of government, was explored. It furthermore provided for a comparison of democratic and non-democratic intelligence practices. The study locates intelligence as a reflection of the political regime through the simultaneous typology of both the regime and intelligence, thereby to enable the identification of more or less democratic practices. The notion of a hybrid regime, as having elements of both democratic and non-democratic regimes, presented a fundamental shift in the perception of South Africa‘s democratisation process towards an attempt to reach the goal of being a consolidated democracy. This study draw the conclusion that the role, functions and mandate of an intelligence service within a democracy, should firstly focus on providing the policy-maker with intelligence to be able to make policies; secondly on the identification of threats or potential threats to national security of the state and lastly to protect the constitution. This would ultimately enable the intelligence regime in South Africa to employ more democratic practices which could assist in reaching the goal of democratic consolidation.
- Humanities