South Africa has been elected to serve in the United Nations Security Council for the 2019-2020 term as a non-permanent member after 183 out of the 190 states voted for them. This marks South Africa’s third term on the UN Security Council, having previously served in 2007-2008 and 2011-2012.

The United Nations General Assembly voted to elect Germany, Belgium, South Africa, the Dominican Republic and Indonesia for a two-year term on the Security Council, starting on 1 January 2019.

South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation said in a statement that it is honoured and humbled by the opportunity.

“Our tenure in the Security Council will be dedicated to the legacy of President Nelson Mandela and his commitment to peace. In marking his centenary this year, a Summit on Peace will be held on the eve of the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly in September.

“We will continue to enhance close cooperation between the UN Security Council and other regional and sub-regional organisations.”

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South Africa’s ruling party, the ANC, said the selction was “a victory for peace and an opportunity to address the root causes of conflict”.

The statement went on to claim that party’s part in the victory: “The election of the SA government, under the leadership of the ANC, to the UNSC, heralds an opportunity for a peaceful resolution of the issues concerning the global community, especially the violence meted out to the Palestinians, as well as the continued occupation of Western Sahara.”

The council is the only UN body that can make legally binding decisions and has the power to impose sanctions and authorise the use of force. President Cyril Ramaphosa therefore expressed his gratitude to the UN General Assembly after the appointment, saying South Africa will use its tenure to advance “the priorities of the African Union Agenda 2063”.

“South Africa’s tenure will be guided by our commitment to resolve regional, global and international conflicts and promote inclusive growth as part of the effort to ensure a better Africa in a better world.

“We are committed to addressing the root causes of conflict, including inequality and underdevelopment, and promoting inclusive political dialogue.

“We reaffirm our commitment to the peaceful resolution of global disputes and the advancement of inclusive development in accordance with the United Nations Charter and international law,” President Ramaphosa said in a statement.