The Impact of Non-State and State Actors on South Africa’s Foreign Policy in Africa

Abstract:

South African foreign policy is not made in a bubble; as a democracy since 1994, its outward orientation is theoretically subject to lobbying and pressure from outside groups as well as jockeying among bureaucratic entities. This study aims to unpack the processes through which governments’ foreign policies are made, specifically in South Africa, to determine whether foreign policy making is in reality open to outside inputs, or whether the foreign policy arena as in many countries globally is an elite reserve. The thesis has a specific focus on the year 2000-2016, during which time President Thambo Mbeki (1999-2008) and later President Jacob Zuma (2010-currently) dominated government’s foreign policy formulation. In addition, the thesis sought to disaggregate the various actors involved in the process both from the influencing and decision making sides of the coin to analyze their individual roles in influencing foreign policy, during both regimes. The study being qualitative in nature found that the dominant actor in South African foreign policy, both during Mbeki’s and Zuma’s era is the Executive himself. This is in part because South African Constitutions vest most decision-making power in the executive, in line with international norms, but also due to a lack of pressure by non-governmental actors. While South Africa’s dispensation allows for greater inputs by the public and other outside actors, the practice of influencing foreign policy either through the ballot box or through concerted pressure between elections changed very little. Public engagement on foreign policy, already weak during Mbeki’s era, did not improve after Zuma took office. Parliament, despite having a dedicated committee on the foreign policy, showed itself largely disinterested. The press, the ANC, and most civil society organizations similarly have showed little desire to weigh in on foreign policy beyond isolated instances. Only academia consistently attempted to influence policy during Mbeki and Zuma’s regime. Ultimately, blame for this lack of change appears to lie mostly with the outside actors, who during the first 14 years of democracy failed to take advantage of political space opened to them. In examining both Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma, the thesis found that they took advantage of this leeway to dominate the foreign policy debate and rarely went out of their way to open the foreign policy debate any more than they had to. This research generally aims at analyzing the role of state and non-state actors in South Africa's foreign policy and eventually how the actors impact on its foreign policy with African nations and notes that there is room for improvement in terms of engaging the State and non-state actors in the foreign policy formulation and implementation process.
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APA

Maria, M (2024). The Impact of Non-State and State Actors on South Africa’s Foreign Policy in Africa. Afribary. Retrieved from https://afribary.com/works/the-impact-of-non-state-and-state-actors-on-south-africa-s-foreign-policy-in-africa

MLA 8th

Maria, Mutheu "The Impact of Non-State and State Actors on South Africa’s Foreign Policy in Africa" Afribary. Afribary, 03 May. 2024, https://afribary.com/works/the-impact-of-non-state-and-state-actors-on-south-africa-s-foreign-policy-in-africa. Accessed 19 Jun. 2024.

MLA7

Maria, Mutheu . "The Impact of Non-State and State Actors on South Africa’s Foreign Policy in Africa". Afribary, Afribary, 03 May. 2024. Web. 19 Jun. 2024. < https://afribary.com/works/the-impact-of-non-state-and-state-actors-on-south-africa-s-foreign-policy-in-africa >.

Chicago

Maria, Mutheu . "The Impact of Non-State and State Actors on South Africa’s Foreign Policy in Africa" Afribary (2024). Accessed June 19, 2024. https://afribary.com/works/the-impact-of-non-state-and-state-actors-on-south-africa-s-foreign-policy-in-africa