I would like to preface my contribution to this panel discussion with a comment from our Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoane Mashabane speaking on the occasion of South Africa's second term on the United Nations (UN) Security Council when she said: "The United Nations itself is also at the dawn of a new era. Negotiations for its reform, including the expansion of its Security Council, are at an advanced stage--there should be no turning back. Our world is in need of a Security Council of the United Nations that has been expanded in both the permanent and non-permanent categories, and with improved working methods. This will make the Security Council more legitimate, representative and effective as a body--so that it can become more transparent and accountable. The successful conclusion of these negotiations and the consequent implementation of the reforms will ensure that indeed the United Nations is well and better positioned to play its role as a multilateral organization that holds out any hope for the future of our planet and its people".
It is therefore no secret what some of the key agenda items of South Africa's second term will be. It is also not beyond imagination that such a process will be hard-fought, tough, robust but absolutely necessary for the advancement of global peace, security and justice for all.
Ladies and gentlemen, the endorsement of South Africa's bid for the non-permanent seat of the UN Security Council by the African Union (AU) Summit in January 2010 and the country's election to the seat by UN Member States in October 2010, signified the international community's acknowledgement and appreciation of South Africa's positive role and contribution to the maintenance of international peace and security. Such acknowledgement though only earns us a place at the table; what is critical is the continuation of the hard work by our highly capable team at the UN and here on home soil; and our resoluteness that the aspirations of our country, our region, continent and friends across the globe rest squarely on our shoulders.
South Africa's Security Council membership so soon after its first tenure in 2007-2008 presents us with the opportunity to continue from where we left during our first Council tenure with consolidating close cooperation and working relations between the UN and regional bodies such as the AU in the maintenance of international peace and security.
Ladies and gentlemen, tangible gains have been made on this front. The UN Security Council adopted a resolution to formalise this working relationship. A High Level Panel to address the financing of peacekeeping was established and the facilitation of consultation between the UN Security Council and the AU High Level Implementation Panel for Sudan are just a few examples to illustrate the point.
Through its council membership South Africa would be able to continue contributing to the accountability, transparency and collective decision-making processes on issues before the Council. South Africa will utilise its Council membership in a responsible and constructive manner. In this connection South Africa will, as it did during its previous tenure, strive for Council resolutions that are reflective of a balanced approach on issues.
Pursuing the Security Council membership in an era where principles are often compromised for self-interest under the guise of pragmatism, South Africa would be able to strive for values and principles that the founding fathers of the UN had in mind when establishing their body in order
(T)o save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which
twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to
reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and
worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and
of nations large and small, and to establish conditions under which
justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and
other sources of international law can be maintained, and to
promote social progress and better standards of life in larger