Peace-keeping and conflict resolution : an examination of South Africa's role in the Central African Republic.
Given the destabilizing effect which conflicts have had on Africa’s socio economic and political development, attempts have been made by the combination of state and non-state actors towards ensuring the prevention of conflicts before they occur and including the setting up of the required capacity to deal with them once they have occurred. South Africa’s involvement in conflict resolution in the Southern African region has been accompanied by both successes and failures. While it is true that South Africa has been instrumental in bringing about peace in countries such as Burundi, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and many other African countries, it is equally true that such initiatives have faced certain challenges for the country – both internally and on the global front. South Africa’s hegemonic status has been affirmed by some while also being challenged by others. Be that as it may, the country’s geographical location as well as its military and economic strength, have placed the country at an advantaged position as one of the leading nations in conflict resolutions and peacekeeping in Africa. In view of the forgoing, this study used document analysis and desktop research to examine the role played by South Africa in the Central African Republic (CAR). Using the conflict theory as its framework of analysis and content analysis as its research methodology, the study looked at the nexus between South Africa’s domestic and foreign policy in its dealings with the conflict situation in the CAR. The study further examined the challenges and successes that South Africa came across while being involved in the peacekeeping mission in Africa in general and in the CAR in particular since the demise of apartheid. The findings revealed that what is presently at play is a continuation of South Africa’s involvement in peacekeeping and conflict resolution mechanisms in Africa despite criticisms levelled against the country by certain commentators. The study recommends a re-definition of South Africa’s foreign policy focus to accommodate more countries in Africa in terms of security and peacekeeping. Lastly, the study recommends that there should be consistency in the manner in which South Africa propagates its foreign policy imperatives. Failure to do so will subject the country to further criticisms.