South Africa takes up Security Council seat

04 January 2019 | Africa

South Africa taking up a seat on the United Nations Security Council is seen as a welcoming sign for the continent, says political commentator Ndumbah Kamanyah.

South Africa started off the New Year by officially assuming its seat as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the period 2019-2020.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said at the time: “This will be the third time that South Africa will be serving in the Security Council since the dawn of democracy in 1994. We are humbled and honoured by the confidence the international community has demonstrated in our capability to contribute to the resolution of global challenges.”

Sharing his views, Kamanyah said: “It offers the opportunity and platform for setting and championing an African agenda. Together with other African countries, the council could form a formidable block to balance the Security Council's agenda, especially on peace and stability on the continent.”

South African international relations and cooperation minister Lindiwe Sisulu said that South Africa's appointment to the Council would help it address Africa's socio-economic problems.

“The continent has the potential to address all its economic and social challenges in the shortest time possible. We have all the ingredients required.

“Silencing the guns in Africa will direct the necessary financial resources to infrastructure development, education and technology, which is required for economic growth. It is for this reason that governments must prioritise peace, stability and strengthening democracy and democratic institutions,” Sisulu said.

The Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. It has 15 members, and each member has one vote. Under the Charter of the United Nations, all member states are obligated to comply with Council decisions. The Security Council takes the lead in determining the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression. It calls upon the parties to a dispute to settle it by peaceful means and recommends methods of adjustment or terms of settlement.

In some cases, the Security Council can resort to imposing sanctions or even authorise the use of force to maintain or restore international peace and security.

-Additional reporting by NEWS24