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Africa Once a major continental force, South Africa's military at a crossroads

South Africa wants to re-establish itself militarily as an important player in Africa's peacekeeping initiatives. But it has to overcome a small budget, and its own needs to police its borders, to move it from a 'critical state of decline.'

Mike Hutchings/Reuters/File

The scenes could have been plucked from another era: South African soldiers with machine guns, stopping pedestrians on Johannesburg street corners to ask for their ID documents. Troop carriers lumbering past rows of shacks in the city’s townships late at night, preparing to raid hubs of supposed illegal activity. 

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