2021-07-17 Intelligence Brief

South Africa

Map of South Africa

In a Friday night speech, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that “This attempted insurrection has failed…” and that “It is clear now that the events of the last week were nothing but a deliberate, well planned and coordinated attack on our democracy”

This announcement comes on the heels of an announced deployment of 25,000 thousand South African military members. This equates to 1/3 of the active forces of South Africa, and per the BBC marks the largest troop deployment since the end of Apartheid.

Comment: In our Instability Model, instability works its way from the periphery inwards, and government response effectiveness is a gauge of what may happen next. In the near term, the situation appears to have stabilized, but the underlying causes of instability (an aggressive network of former President Zuma supporters, and economic fragility already exacerbated by years of mismanagement and compounded by the impacts of Covid-19) have not been solved. Large-scale military deployments are not sustainable long term, and the underlying conditions will cause further unrest.


A pause in fighting appears to be little more than a preparation for the next round of conflict, as the warring factions reinforce and prepare for the next phase of the conflict, which risks exacerbating existing challenges, as well as spilling over into neighboring Sudan.