Understanding South Africa’s confused and ineffective response to terrorism
in Non-Western responses to terrorism
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This chapter explores why the South African Government’s responses to terrorism are confused and ineffective. A significant contributing factor is that the African National Congress (ANC), which has governed the country since the end of apartheid in 1994, is a former liberation movement that was itself labelled ‘terrorist’ by Ronald Reagan’s United States and Margaret Thatcher’s Britain. While in exile, the ANC had forged close ties with other similarly labelled groups and these strong bonds have endured. This historical legacy negatively impacts the formulation and implementation of current counterterrorism policies. What the ANC Government needs to understand is that the nature of the terrorist threat has radically morphed in the past few decades, from terrorist movements pursuing limited political goals to religious terrorist movements with global pretensions and absolutely no possibility of compromise.

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