Lindiwe Sisulu
Today, South Africa will be seeking election at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York to serve as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council (UNSC) for the period 2019-20 (January 1, 2019-December 31, 2020).

South Africa requires a two-thirds majority of the total number of UN member states to be elected.

Since being endorsed by the AU to take up the one seat in the UNSC for the African Group (currently held by Ethiopia), we have embarked on an intensive lobbying process to secure a two-year tenure at the UNSC.

We have received wide support for our candidature from UN member states which has been confirmed during our global lobbying campaign. We are therefore fully confident that we will once again garner universal support for our candidacy as we did for our two earlier tenures in 2007-8 and 2011-12.

South Africa’s candidature to the UNSC is significant as it coincides with the country’s commemoration of the centenary of our own icon Nelson Mandela, who dedicated his entire life to the promotion of peace, democracy and human rights.

South Africa’s tenure in the Security Council will thus be dedicated to the legacy of Mandela and his commitment to dialogue and negotiations in the settlement of disputes.

We will also use our tenure to work towards achieving the AU goal of “silencing the guns” by 2020 - an objective that resonates with our own legacy - an objective we are eager to see achieved throughout the world.

We have used all our diplomatic and security efforts at conflict resolution with an emphasis on prevention, mediation and peace-building. We firmly believe that, while we must strengthen the tools at the Security Council’s disposal in addressing conflicts as they arise, focus must be on preventive diplomacy and addressing the root causes.

UN peacekeeping remains one of the flagship activities at the disposal of the UN to contribute to peace, security and stability. Since the UN’s inception, peacekeeping has provided essential security and much-needed hope and support to many people and countries around the world emerging from conflict.

South Africa has extensive experience in contributing towards conflict resolution, including peacekeeping.

We deployed troops to Burundi as part of the AU mission which was re-hatted to form the basis of the UN Operation in Burundi (ONUB).

We have also been deploying troops to UN missions in the DRC since 1999. Over the years, South African forces have served in 14 international peace operations, including seven UN peacekeeping missions.

In the 21st century, South Africa has emerged as a major provider of uniformed UN peacekeepers, with annual contributions consistently ranging between 1500 and 2500.

At present, South Africa is a top 20 troop contributing country to the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

It is a proponent of participation of women in peace negotiations, peacekeeping operations, post-conflict peace-building and governance.

During our tenure, we will ensure that a gender perspective is mainstreamed into Security Council resolutions.

As during our previous two terms on the Security Council, South Africa will place emphasis on promoting co-operation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organisations with a view to enhancing the effectiveness of the UNSC in addressing the challenges of peace and security. The adoption of the landmark UN Security Council Resolution 2033, in 2012 on co-operation between the UNSC and the AU Peace and Security Council, remains one of our major achievements.

We will continue to advocate for closer co-operation between the two bodies.

During our tenure, we will continue to work together with all the members of the UN in pursuit of effective global governance, multilateralism and reform of the UN. We believe that the UN is the embodiment of the international community’s will to attain and maintain international peace and security, and to promote the economic and social well-being of all nations.

We will also continue to work towards improving the working methods of the Security Council to make it a more legitimate, representative and effective body. South Africa regards the UNSC as the primary body for the maintenance of global political stability, peace and security. As we assume the non-permanent seat, we look forward to collaborating with all countries in fulfilling the mandate of the Security Council. We do this out of necessity and the willingness to lend a hand to keep peace.

Lindiwe Sisulu is Minister of International Relations and Co-operation.