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National Security



The persistent global threat of terrorism has had implications for security and stability across various regions, including South Africa. While South Africa has experienced a history of political violence and social unrest, it has traditionally been considered a secondary target for terrorist activities. Consequently, many South Africans are unaware that their standard insurance policies do not provide coverage for property destruction resulting from terrorist acts. It is imperative for policyholders to thoroughly review their policy terms and conditions, as Sasria offers coverage specifically for terrorism-related incidents.

Historical significance of terrorism in South Africa

Terrorism, characterised by using force, violence, or threats to instil fear and promote ideological agendas that aim to influence or affect government, has played a significant role in South Africa’s political landscape throughout its history. Sasria, established during the apartheid era, emerged as a response to political violence employed by both the apartheid government and anti-apartheid organisations. 

Apartheid was brutal and the state used violent tactics to preserve the status quo and that led to intensified retaliation by the anti-apartheid organisations. The transition to democracy in the 1990s marked a transformative period for South Africa, shifting away from a legacy of political violence towards peace and stability, often referred to as the “rainbow nation”.

Democratic South Africa and the right to protest

Present-day South Africa has emerged from this history of resistance and confrontational forms of protest. The adoption of the South African constitution on 27 April 1994 (Freedom Day) symbolised the triumph of democracy. 

The right to protest is a fundamental aspect of South Africa’s democratic system and is explicitly recognized in Section 17 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act 108 of 1996. This section acknowledges the right to assemble, demonstrate, picket, and present petitions. The Regulations of Gatherings Act 205 of 1993 provides a framework for exercising this right under specific circumstances.

However, when demonstrations, originally intended as peaceful protests, escalate into violence, causing harm and property damage, they lose their constitutional protection as they infringe upon the rights of others.

Recent social unrest and its implications

In July 2021, South Africa witnessed a significant episode of social unrest, which raised concerns about the country’s preparedness and ability to effectively respond to such upheavals. While the threat of terrorism in South Africa remains relatively low compared to other countries, several factors such as escalating tensions among political factions, widening socio-economic disparities, inadequate service delivery to impoverished communities, and rising unemployment rates create an environment that could potentially foster ideologies capable of inciting terrorism and violent radicalism. These factors pose a significant threat to South Africa’s stability and security.

Economic impact of terrorism

Although the perceived risk of terrorist activity in South Africa is lower than in other countries, it is important to acknowledge the potential severity of such incidents and their detrimental impact on the South African economy, as witnessed in recent years. Consequently, businesses and organisations operating within the country should carefully consider the potential consequences of a terrorist attack on their operations. This consideration should inform their decision-making process regarding obtaining Sasria insurance coverage, which serves to transfer this existential risk.

Managing the risk

Mitigating the financial risks associated with Sasria-related incidents, as exemplified by the social unrest of July 2021, is of paramount importance for both citizens and organisations. Moreover, as the threat of terrorism, categorised as one of the Sasria perils, continues to evolve, individuals and businesses must assess their risk exposure and take appropriate steps to safeguard themselves. One of these measures includes obtaining comprehensive insurance coverage through Sasria SOC Limited. By adopting such risk management strategies, South Africa can enhance its stability and security in the face of potential terrorist threats.