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Year : 2009  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 61-66

Ex-combatants in South Africa: how to address their needs

Community Counselling Psychologist working as a Senior Researcher in the Trauma and Transition Programme of the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, Johannesburg, South Africa. Tel.: +2711 403 5102, Post: P.O. Box 6595, Halfway House, 1685, South Africa

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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South Africa held its first democratic elections in 1994. Fourteen years later, it is clear that ex-combatants remain a vulnerable group. A limited disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process has meant that many ex-combatants continue to face serious challenges. A number of nongovernmental organizations have taken up the task of addressing the psychosocial needs of this group. This paper describes their interventions and the impact on ex-combatants, as well as the challenges still facing this group. Perspectives from both ex-combatants and organizational members were gathered. The paper concludes that in order to address the psychosocial needs of South African ex-combatants the following changes are required: increased political will, more platforms for consultation, prioritizing economic empowerment, targeted psychosocial healing and recognition.

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