Essay topic: critically discuss the role of negotiations in reducing political killings/violence in the post-apartheid south africaIntroduction
We living in the era of negotiation. Around us the world has changed and is still changing rapidly because of and by means of negotiation. Negotiation is a fact of life, just as humans cannot exist without communicating, so we can barely exist without negotiating. Negotiation is a process of interaction between parties’ directed at reaching some form of agreement that will hold and that is based upon common interest; with the purpose of resolving conflict, despite widely dividing differences. This is achieved basically through the establishment of common ground and the creation of alternatives and common ground is not just what people have in common but what they could become together. Negotiation is an exchange of information through communication. The information is formulated as strategies and techniques. These strategies and techniques originate from the negotiation relationship between the parties and they serve to continue or discontinue the relationship. The purpose of this communication exchange is to reach agreement between the parties who have certain things in common while disagreeing on others (Pienaar ; Speolstra, 1991:3). Negotiation is a process by which a joint decision is made by two or more parties. In order for negotiation to take places the parties first verbalize contradictory demands and then move towards an agreement by a process of concession making or search for new alternatives. Negotiation takes place when they is a conflict of a disagreement between two or more individuals. In most cases individuals who indulge in negotiation decide to go through negotiation process as they feel they cannot just solve the issues or conflict at hand.
There are many reasons why people go through negotiation some are positive or negative, some to get their way out of a situation that they are caught in in that the only the way out is to negotiation but the nature of negotiation itself each individual has a certain motive to achieve or interest and no one enters into negotiation to lose or avoid loos but to obtain gain. And in most cases there are opposed interest between parties that are involved in negotiation. Opposed interest thereby means that the parties differing needs lead them to incompatible preferences among the alternatives under consideration. “Needs are assumed to comprise two types of motivational structures such as goals, which are the end states towards which a party is striving and secondly values, which are events or states of nature that a party find particularly appealing or distasteful. All goals reflect underlying values but, not all values are translated into goals at any given time” (Prutt, 1981:1). In order for a negotiation to take place, there must be a conflict of interest or a dispute to be resolved between two or more parties. Parties enter to a negotiation process or opt for negotiation by trying to make a joint decision and unwillingly to take action without talking things through. “Conflict can be defined as an episode in which one party tries to influence another or an element of the common environment and the other resist. By this definition, negotiation can be described as a form of social conflict, since it involves the defences of opposing positions. It also can be described as a form of conflict resolution, since the roots of conflicts are often examined and rectified during negotiation. Because of its potential for resolving conflict and it nonviolent nature, one often hears a sigh of relief when negotiation substitutes for harsher struggles” (Prutt, 1981:6). It involves the mutual settlement of the conflict by both parties without the aid of a third party. Parties seek not to reach a solution in terms of systematic rules brought in by the aid of a third party, but to be able to implement the rules by which they can organise their relationship with one another (Condlife, 2002:30)
Significance of negotiation
According to Prutt (1981), he states that the functions of negotiation can be summarised under three headings which are as follows:
(A)Development of longer term policies of specific agreements
(B) Development of longer term policies about roles, obligation, and privileges and,
(C) Mediation of social change
By this functions, Prutt go about giving examples such as in specific goals, it is a decision by a university dean to award a department R10 000 for supplies after a series of discussions with the department chairman. Besides determining or taking into consideration how people will behave in such a situation, such agreements have the function of settling controversies, setting precedents, and to the extent that both parties are satisfied with the outcome, strengthening the relationship between the parties involved in the agreement. In terms of policies, many negotiations concern general policies that have implications for multiple specific decisions. For example are the way a boy and girl decide to say good ni9ght after dates, the division of labour in a household, and the structure and responsibilities of the secretariat to a United Nations conference. Other important examples of agreement resulting from negotiations can be of those norms governing the use of weapons in social conflict are. Social change also emerges from negotiation which we have also witnessed happening in many spheres in South Africa when it transitioned from apartheid to democratic country. The occasions for such change include failure of traditional structures and patterns resulting from altered circumstances, modified needs and transformed power relations between members of a group or organisation. The following progression of events is commonly found in such circumstances such as when one party employs raw demands, unilateral moves and other heavy tactics, producing a backlash from the other party and an inconclusive struggle. Then both parties, sensing the need for new structures and norms, agree to negotiate in an effort to settle their differences peacefully (Prutt, 1981:7).
The general policies that result from negotiations in organisation and broader societies or within states can be viewed as elements of social order. For instances, “negotiation seeks to establish the nature of emerging social structures. Division of labour and assignment of people to roles can result from negotiation, informal systems of favour exchange also are often established by negotiations. Such as informal arrangements between union and management in a plant, between a corrupt judge and defendant coming before the bench, and between a political machine and citizens of community it governs” (Lewis, 2002).
In every negotiation process there is an outcome or what can be said as to be the end result of the negotiation. In a negotiation process, there are 3 philosophical to be considered as outcomes of a negotiation. These philosophies are namely the ‘WIN-WIN, WIN-LOSE and LOSE-LOSE. These are said to be the outcomes or results of negotiation which can be observed or determined at the final stage of negotiation. Basic negotiation philosophical outcomes are at the centre of many protracted, deadlocked and failed negotiations. Every negotiation is different and good negotiators know what factors can influence the outcomes of negotiations. In a Win-Win outcome, this suggest that both parties get what they want. In reality it probably means that both parties feel satisfied with the outcomes or solution to settle their dispute of the meeting. They may not have everything they initially asked for, but both have something. No one feels robbed or swindled. Negotiators reach an agreement that satisfies both parties. Win-win strategies of outcome tend to create better and long-lasting agreements (Lewis, 2002:33). In a Win-Lose outcome, usually the negotiator attempts to disadvantage the opponent in the deal. This negotiation strategy can be considered for example when there is no opportunity for developing a relationship with the seller or buyer. It the first past the post scenario whereby if they is a winner, then by definition they is a loser and to successfully use a win-lose tactic as a basic negotiation strategy in, you must be prepared to walk away empty handed (Lewis ,2002:24). It is the classic starting position for many industrial and international disputes. It is the common approach that people usually take in negotiation. In ‘Lose-Lose’ outcome, both parties are determined not to let the other one win, they can both end up not achieving their objectives. It can often happen when both parties go in with a win-lose approach and narrow desired outcomes, both determined not to give way. It is used in a very special circumstances. Lose-lose strategy happens when negotiators use spoiling tactics in the negotiation process in order to damage their competitor’s positioning. Lose-lose can also be an attitude taken by both parties in a dispute. These labels, win-win, win-lose and lose-lose are applicable both to the approach taken to the negotiation and to the outcomes of negotiation. The link that negotiators fail to make is that the outcome is usually affected by the approach. If you start with a win-win approach, the outcome is far more likely to be win-win. If you start with a win-lose or lose-lose approach, the outcome will almost certainly reflect that (Hodgson, 1996:17-18).
Political killings/violence in the post-apartheid South Africa
Defining killings as political:
“For a killing to be ‘political’ it must be motivated by or connected to contestation or rivalry, either regarding access to political power, or conflict over the way in which the individual targeted (or a group aligned with that individual), is exercising his or her political power. In terms of a broad understanding conflict, such as that between unions or even between gangs, may be political even if it is not linked to political parties. Politicians themselves may also be behind the killings of civilians who they perceive to threaten their power” (Bruce, 2014:2).
Political killings/violence in the post South African have been one the major issues that the country is facing among other challenges. There is so much conflict that leads to assassination of citizens that is within the majority of South African citizens. Political killings continue to be a feature of political life in South Africa. In the post-apartheid South Africa period these killings have been concentrated in specific provinces; notably KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), and to a lesser extent Mpumalanga. Since post 1994, KwaZulu-Natal has been one of the leading provinces among other with the highest rates or number of assassinations resulting from political killings/violence. And in most of this assassinations leading resulting from political killings/violence, the culprits remain unknown and justice is never served for those assassinated which also goes to an extent that it even put family members at risk or live in fear, it has always been concluded as an act of criminality just was the case with the murder of Sindiso Magaqa who was a former ANC Youth League secretary-general, who was shot and killed in a hail of bullets in uMzimkhulu in KwaZulu-Natal last year. What can be said to be the causes or what really trigger these political killings/violence is the fact that people find them especially in with the majority of black communities in competition over scarce resources, land, jobs and power interest. It can be said as an interest based conflict. Power interest is one of the most dominant reason leading to this political killings/violence in the post-apartheid South Africa starting from the conflict emerging between political parties and relationship between partners in a political community or party who want to do different things or believe in different ideologies. Politicians has used political killings or violence as a tool to further pursue their political interest, ambitions or desires which encourage the politics of patronage. Political killings has turned into a structural situation and are based on power interest. The biggest problem of this is that they have created an environment of animosity between South Africa and it citizens as a whole. It has turn into a norm that one is not happy with another, the solution is killing and in removing those who are in power, they must resort into killings. Political killings or violence has turned to be an answer to any political issues. The disparities between political parties and South African citizens has led to the huge number of political killing or violence that is growing everyday such as social and economic disparities, the inequalities among the citizens such as unequal access to resources and unequal distribution of power such as acquiring political positions, political disputes and functioning of the system which is claimed or believe to only benefit those who are in the ruling party, in power and wealthy and not the majority of South African citizens.
In the post-apartheid South Africa, it can never be denied that South Africa faces many societal and political challenges. And these challenges result in what can be described as a highly politicised society. People lives has revolved around politics so much; politics is just found everywhere, in very sphere of human life. “Political issues or conditions are not informed by issues of common interest, such as similar outlook. The political conditions are so concerned with securing numbers that political campaigns are less about issues of national interest and for that political killing/violence has turned into a norm or culture to solve issues within politics which is impacting negatively on South Africa. Political killings/violence have become a regularized way of deciding on leadership and access to wealth within the ruling party and its allies. The reality is that selection of candidates for council, mayor or even president has turned into a life-and-death issue and the number tends to increase when it close to election time. “Political killings are a result of unqualified public officials and a civil war within the ruling party” (Singh, 2012). The abuse of government resources has also contributed towards the political killings/violence in the post-apartheid South Africa and on any social system, scarcity of resources has puts pressure on both the government and it citizens. There have been numerous conflict behavior leading to political killings in post-apartheid South Africa and nothing has been thus far to reduce this killings/violence and it is not an easy issue to tackle as the culprit remain unknown.
The role of negotiation in reducing political killings/violence in the post-apartheid South Africa
Negotiation thus far has not played any role in reducing these political killings/violence in the post-apartheid South Africa. It has been a huge challenge dealing with the issue of political killings/violence and the number of killings is growing every day. It has become a challenge in terms of who to take to negotiations and even with any form of communication or talks, it ends up being a blame-game where no one is willing to admit in playing any role in fueling this political killings/violence and finding a solution will be a mammoth task. Government has tried to put forward solutions in solving this issue at hand. Task teams has been put forward to investigate this political killings especially in KwaZulu-Natal but the investigating team has faced numerous challenges in tackling this issue. Challenges such as that witness are reluctant to come forward with information and in instances where witnesses have come forward, they tend change their statements later and they are intimidated into withdrawing those statements. According to the police minister Bheki Cele‚ most of these killings are politically motivated and they may be intra-party. However‚ these kind of statement or assumptions can be made or it can concluded that it the case when the investigation has been completed (Mthethwa, 2018.para.10). They were concerned about coordination from the various clusters within the task teams investigating the political killings.
From the observations within the government they saw it that they is a need to understand why the delays in terms of arresting‚ in terms of prosecutions‚ in terms of containing witnesses so that they don’t disappear or they don’t become intimidated and this process may take too long in resolving, it will take time before they are any positive results. What has contributed to the failure of negotiation is that whenever the parties are meeting to find solutions or the way forward, each party comes in with their own personal interest and not on national interest. People use negotiation platforms to pursue their own ambitions and interest, they use it as a platform to gain power and for their own selfish reasons or gains which benefits themselves only. What we have witnessed between political parties is that whenever they meet, one is never to submit to the other party or agree with the other and meet the common ground and these political meetings in most cases they always end up with threats among each other and. They tend use negotiations a platform to settle their own personal dispute and forget what lies at hand and the security of the citizens at it also at risk with this political killings. The bad atmosphere between political parties and within party members of one political party has led to the failure of negotiation in reducing political killings/violence.
How to address the issue of political killings in the post-apartheid South Africa through negotiation
With the current situation that South Africa has found itself upon, it is just hard to determine whether the outcomes of a negotiation will favor one party or the other and that should not be at the heads of those negotiating. What should be important is finding solutions with regards to political killings. Negotiations can play a huge role or make a positive impact in resolving or reducing political killings/violence in the post-apartheid South Africa. It is said that in successful negotiation everybody wins and South Africa can enter in a successful negotiation if all parties that are negotiating have one motive of which is reducing political killings/violence. Parties needs to understand the implications bought in by the issue in question and what means to the state security and the government. A negotiation takes place whenever ideas are exchanged for the purpose of influencing behavior. When parties are meeting to make decisions they represent differing points of view and aspiration levels. The outcome as in all bargaining, is based upon power and skills as well as logic. What has contributed to the failure of negotiation especially in the South Africa context is that in negotiations there is a paradox of power and in some cases power tend to intimidate negotiations. Skill is another area of mystery. It is possible to measure skill or evaluate the relative importance of one trait over another and skills between opponents could affect the final outcome (Karras, 1970:13)
Bruce, D.2014.Political killings in South Africa: The ultimate intimidation. Institute for security studies. Online. Available: https://www.files.ethz.ch/isn/185397/PolBrief64.pdf 22 May 2018
Christie, D.J, Wagner, R.V & Winter, D.D. 2001. Peace, Conflict and violence peace: Psychology for the 21st century. Prentice Hall, Inc.: New Jersey
Condlife, P.2002.Conflict management. LexisNexis Butterworth: Australia
Karras, C.L.1970.The negotiating Game. Fitzhenry & Whiteside limited: Toronto
Kramer, R.M & Messick, D.M.1995.Negotiation as a social process. SAGE Publications, Inc.: California
Lewis, D.T.2002.Negotiating in the 21st century. Zebra Press: Cape Town
Pruitt, D.G.1981.Negotiation behavior. Academic Press, Inc.: New York
Singh, K.2012. ANC is in a civil war, former mayor tells Moerane Commission. Mail & Guardian. Online. Available: https://mg.co.z/article/2017-12-12-anc-is-in-a-civil-war-former-myor-tells-moerane-commission 21 May 2018
Mthethwa, B. (2018). ‘Enormous challenges in solving political killings in KZN’. Times live, 22 May. Paragraph.10. Online. Available: https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2018-05-22-enormous-challenges-in-solving-political-killings-in-kzn/ 22 May 2018