South Africa was one of the 51 founding member of the United Nations in 1945. Since its inception in 1945, UN membership has grown to 193 States. The United Nations General Assembly on 12 November 1974 suspended South Africa from participating in its work, due to international opposition to the policy of apartheid. South Africa was re-admitted to the UN in 1994 following its transition into a democracy. Since 1994 the democratically elected government has pursued a foreign policy based on the centrality of the UN in the multilateral system.

Twelve years after re-admittance to the UN, South Africa was honoured to be endorsed by the African Union (AU) and subsequently elected with an overwhelming majority to serve as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council during the period 2007-2008 and 2011-2012. During its tenure as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), South Africa promoted the African Agenda namely peace, security and development.

“Continuing the Legacy: Working for Peace”

South Africa presented its candidature to fill the non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the term 2019 – 2020. The election for this seat was held during the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly on 8 June 2018.

Following a global campaign to garner the widest possible support for our candidacy, South Africa received overwhelming support from UN member states and was elected. The President of South Africa, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, as well as the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Lindiwe Sisulu, expressed their unreserved gratitude and appreciation to all the UN Member States that voted, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) for the nomination and the continental body, the African Union (AU), that endorsed South Africa’s candidature.

This will be South Africa’s third term on the UNSC, having previously served in 2007 – 2008 and 2011 – 2012. The country’s tenure on the Security Council will be dedicated to the legacy of President Nelson Mandela and his commitment to peace.

South Africa is faithful to the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations Charter. It strongly advocates rules-based multilateralism. In pursuance of this objective, South Africa is an active participant in the main deliberative and subsidiary bodies of the United Nations, i.e. the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the Security Council, Peace Building Commission (PBC) as well as the Human Rights Council.

South Africa is committed to promoting and achieving its vision of an African Continent, which is prosperous, peaceful, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and united, and which contributes to a world that is just and equitable through effective multilateralism at the sub-regional (SADC), regional (AU) and global level (UN).

statement and speeches

Civil Society Dialogue with H.E. Jerry Matthews Matjila, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations, President of the UN Security Council for October

28 September 2019

Upon her arrival in New York on Sunday, 22 September 2019, International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Dr Naledi Pandor, had a bilateral meeting with the United Nations Secretary General Mr Antònio Guterres, at the #UN headquarters in New York, ahead of her address at #UNGA74 this week. #UNGA #BetterAfricaBetterWorld #WeAreAfrica #SAatUNSC

International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Dr. Naledi Pandor, being interviewed by UN Bureau Chief of South African Broadcasting Corporation, Sherwin Bryce-Pease, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, ahead of her participation at the #UNGA74 from 23-30 September. #BetterAfricaBetterWorld #SAatUNSC

International Women's day

8 march 2019

special official funeral category 2 for ambassador dumisani shadrak kumalo

Acting President David Mabuza has declared a Special Official Funeral Category 2 for the late Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo who passed away peacefully at his home on Sunday evening, 20 January 2019, at the age of 71.

The official funeral service will take place on Saturday, 26 January 2019 from 08h30 at Calvary Methodist Church, Harry Galaun Drive and Halfway Gardens, Midrand in Johannesburg.

As an anti-apartheid campaigner, Ambassador Kumalo played an influential role in the process that led to the UN’s declaration of apartheid as a crime against humanity.

Ambassador Kumalo served as South Africa’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York from 1999 to 2009, a period during which he represented South Africa during its first tenure on the UN Security Council from 2007-2008.

Ambassador Kumalo also served as co-chair for the establishment of the UN Human Rights Council, and was chair at the UN of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and the Group of 77 plus China. (UN Photo)

book of condolences for ambassador dumisani shadrak kumalo

A book of condolences has been opened for the late Ambassador Dumisani Shadrack Kumalo, who passed away peacefully in his sleep at home, on Snday, 20 January 2019. He was 71 years old.

Members of the public and friends of South Africa who wish to pay their respect and honour the memory of Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo are welcome to sign the book at 333 East 38th Street, 9th Floor, New York City, between the hors of 10:00 am and 5:00 pm, until Friday, 25 January 2019.

United nations security council flag installation ceremenoy

Jerry Matthews Matjila, Permanent Representative of #SouthAfrica to the @UN, waves his country’s flag during the flag installation ceremony held to honour the newly-elected non-permanent members of the Security Council for the term 2019-2020. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

south africa prepares for a two-year term at the security council

13 november

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) has reached an advanced stage of its preparation for South Africa’s third term as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) by hosting a workshop with the incoming, current and outgoing elected members (E10) of the UNSC. Read more.