Dawid Francois Du Plessis

Student number: 11377161

A mini-dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree


Department of Political Sciences,

Faculty of Humanities, University of Pretoria


Dr YK Spies


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LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS…………………………………………………………………. (iv)


CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION………………………………………………………………..1

1.2.1 The structure of global political power and the general debate on UNSC reform……………………………………………………………………………………..2

1.2.2 The African Position on UNSC reform…………………………………………….. 4

1.2.3 The South African Position on UNSC reform…………………………………….. 7

1.3 Formulation and demarcation of the research problem……………………….. 9

1.4 Methodology……………………………………………………………………………10

1.5 Structure of the research…………………………………………………………….11




2.1 Introduction…………………………………………………………………………….13

2.2 Global political governance as a theme within International Relations


2.3 The UNSC as manifestation of global political governance…………………...21

2.4 The imperative for structural changes to the UNSC…………………………….24


COUNCIL FORM……………………………………………….............................................31


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3.1 Introduction……………………………………………………………………….……31


3.3 Development of a Common African Position on UNSC reform……………….38

3.4 Schisms in the African approach to UNSC reform………………………………43



4.1 Introduction……………………………………………………………………………..50

4.2 South Africa’s return to the international community under the

Presidency of Nelson Mandela………………………………………………………51

4.3 South Africa’s contributions to the debate on UNSC reform under the leadership of President Thabo Mbeki………………………………………………53

4.4 South Africa’s diplomatic contributions to the debate on UNSC reform under the Jacob Zuma Presidency…………………………………………………58

4.5 South Africa’s voting patterns, bargaining considerations and positions related to its call for UNSC reform (2007/2008 and 2011/2012)………………..61

CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION………………………………………………………………...67



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My appreciation and regard go to my supervisor, Dr Yolanda Spies: for her guidance, insight, patience, editorial persistence and belief that this was possible.

It is deservedly extended to the staff of the Political Science Department at UP for their assistance, wise lecturing, knowledge, counsel and contributions during lectures, group discussions, presentations and seminars. It also goes to those at the Branch Diplomatic Training, Research and Development at DIRCO who are in no small measure involved in the MDIPS programme, facilitated, coordinated and presented by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation and the

University of Pretoria. I also wish to extend my gratitude to supervisors and colleagues at DIRCO who allowed me to participate in the 2011/12 MDIPS

Last, but not the least, my heartfelt thanks go to the MDIPS CLASS of 2011/12.

Wherever you are: make a difference! iii

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AASROC: Asian-African Sub-Regional Organisations Conference

ACCORD: African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes



African National Congress

African Peer Review Mechanism

APSA: African Peace and Security Architecture

ASC: Amalgamated Security Community

AU: African






AU Peace and Security Council

Brazil, Russia, India, China

Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa

Commission on Human Rights

Congress of South African Trade Unions






Conference on Security, Stability, Development and Cooperation in


Committee of Ten Heads of State on the United Nations Security

Department of International Relations and Cooperation

Democratic Republic of Congo

Economic and Social Council

EU: European

FOCAC: Forum for China-Africa Cooperation

G-4: Group of Four

GDP: Gross Domestic Product

High Panel

ICBC: Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

ICJ: International Court of Justice









League of Arab States

Middle East and North Africa

Middle East Peace Process

New Asia-Africa Strategic Partnership

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

New Economic Partnership for African Development

Organization for African Unity

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

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OIC: Organization of the Islamic Conference







Peacebuilding Support Office

People’s Republic of China

Permanent Two (PRC, Russia)

Permanent Three (US, UK, France)

Regional Council

UAM: African and Malagasy Union (French abbreviation)

UN: United

UNGA: United Nations General Assembly




United Nations Security Council

United States of America

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

WMD: Weapons of Mass Destruction

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The United Nations Security Council, as highest custodian of peace and security in the international community, is subjected to change in the international environment, but is in itself not inclined to, or likely to change in the near future.

This is because its structure is entrenched in international law, which also upholds the pre-eminence of state sovereignty in the prevailing international relations environment. The pre-eminent position bestowed upon the UNSC by the UN

Charter and an entrenched international adherence to its current structure, mainly due to conflict’s close association with reality politics and international power structures associated with a pre-dominant interest driven international system of states, make international consensus on changing the UNSC near impossible. This environment is, therefore, subject to the competitive pursuit of state interests and influenced by power relations, as Realists contend. However, this behavioural nature of the international system continues to be challenged in order to conform to the principles that underwrite the philosophies, the theories and correlating systems of law in democracy. South Africa’s diplomatic positioning in this regard since 1994 assumes a structural approach by calling for change in the international system, to broaden international community, and specifically African, the South African diplomatic agenda has targeted the ingrained hegemony of the

Council’s permanent core, the Permanent Five, and their veto. In theory, South

Africa subscribes to the Ezulwini Consensus, which is a common African position that demands two permanent seats for the continent. The country has, in line with its diplomatic endeavour, also pronounced itself ready to assume such a seat in a transformed Council, even though Africa has not collectively endorsed (a) candidate(s). In the interim, South Africa is using strategic diplomatic

UNSC reform and to lobby for its own permanent inclusion. South Africa, spectrum in support of a d iplomacy that seeks to engage rather than isolate or disengage and which is aimed at making a difference in this mediation, creating convergence, also through bridging divergences in the international debate on reform of the UNSC. vi

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1.1 Introductory Overview

The aim and purpose of this study is to provide an evaluation of what seems to be an expanding debate on the reform of the United Nations (UN), focusing in particular on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). This will be conducted with particular reference to South Africa’s diplomatic impact on this debate since the country’s transition to democracy in 1994.

The UNSC in 1945 consisted of only eleven members: the Permanent Five (P-5) comprised of the United States of America (US), United Kingdom (UK), France,

China (the seat at that stage filled by Taiwan) and the Union of Soviet Socialist

Republics (USSR); and six non-permanent members who served on the Council on a rotational basis. This configuration of the Council remained until 1965, when the number of non-permanent members was increased from six to ten by an amendment of the Charter. This landmark decision recognised the post-war quantitative changes in the community of states (as a result of decolonisation, especially in Africa) and the necessity for more states to participate in the deliberations of the Council.

No other structural changes have since been effected, despite a growing chorus of commentators who insist that the composition of the Council is archaic: the establishment of the UN, to replace the League of Nations, was chiefly a European and Western construct, geared towards maintaining the immediate post-war balance of power after the defeat of the aggressor states in World War Two (WWII).

The international community as embodied by the UN and its members, the States, is a reflection of the history of its members and of the evolution of international diplomacy in conduct, in ideas and values, in the forging and ratifying of an expanding body of international law, and, the seemingly unstoppable evolving of new and unexpected challenges to humankind. In this respect however, the UNSC has not evolved in tandem with other institutions of international society. This is of concern because under the Charter, all Members of the UN agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council. While other organs of the UN make recommendations to Governments, the Council alone has the power to take decisions which Member States are obligated under the UN Charter to carry out.

The calls for reform of the UNSC and the UN more generally cannot be divorced from calls for a broadening, or more representative reflection globally, of the multilateral institutions that increasingly determine the international rules of engagement. The voices in favour of change argue that the UNSC in its mandate to deliver on international peace and security can only be successful once there is proper consideration of the new international realities presented by a post-Cold War multipolar world. They also insist that the Council should be strengthened in its task by a decentralized global system of peace-prevention, peace-making, peacekeeping and peace-building, which should be embodied in the development of efficient and closer coordination between the Council and regional organisations such as the African Union (AU).


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The South African position is continuously exposed to the fluidity and uncertainties of the international relations environment and interacts and formulates in the same manner as referred to above. A consistent theme in its foreign policy rhetoric since its own transition to democracy in 1994 has been insistence on an overhaul of international political governance. In terms of its official position, it subscribes to the

African Common Position as formulated in the AU Ezulwini Consensus. Despite the latter being adopted by the AU during 2005, actual .African consensus seems to be an illusion for the time being, as the policy framework has not identified which

African states should take up permanent positions on behalf of the continent. In addition to South Africa, countries such as Nigeria and Egypt (among others) have staked a claim to the coveted permanent seats.

South Africa has a particularly strong case for permanent membership: post-1994 it has assumed normative entrepreneurship in its diplomacy, and has been active in conflict mediation in Africa. It has been argued that, as the continent’s largest economic and military power, South Africa should take a stronger stance in terms of its own interests and not make a multilateral consensus the ultimate goal as far as the debate concerning the reform of the UNSC is concerned (Spies, 2008: 106-


South Africa has indeed on many occasions expressed its intention to become a permanent member of the Security Council, and to work towards improving the working methods of the Council to make it a more legitimate, representative and effective body. In this regard it has been aligning itself with various global-South and other mini-lateral associations of states, such as the India-Brazil-South Africa

Dialogue Forum (IBSA) and the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) group; all of which insist on changes to global governance structures, and structural reform of the UNSC.

1.2 Literature overview

The relevant literature has covered the following areas of investigation: the structure of global political power and the general debate on UNSC reform; the

African position within this debate; the South African position on the Council’s reform and the country’s diplomatic strategy to effect change in this regard.

1.2.1 The structure of global political power and the general debate on UNSC


There exists a view that all politics is local. However, there is very little today, locally, that is not being influenced by what is happening somewhere else in the world. Globalisation and the technological revolution have seen to that. Therefore all politics have become, or is becoming, international (Ross, 2007: 203). This, in particular, is what makes the debate on reform of the UNSC and international governance relevant.

Certainly, the above constitutes the overarching debate and environment dealing with UNSC reform. The UNSC, a diplomatic assembly, represents the ultimate international legal construct with the responsibility to ensure global peace and security. In this regard literature that deals with theoretical aspects of diplomacy and power-relations in the international environment is of interest. James Der Derian


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(1987), for example, has addressed issues of estrangement and change in diplomacy and how these dynamics speak to power relations between states. The diplomacy of power-politics is arguably the direct reason for the exclusive allocation of the UNSC veto powers and the attempt to balance great international powers through that veto within the structure of the Council, when it was established in

1945. Paul Sharp (2009), another prominent diplomatic theorist, provides insight into diplomatic thought, traditions and elements, as well as processes and concepts that relate to and deal with integration and disintegration, expansion and contraction, concentration and diffusion of power in the international environment.

These ideas shed light on current changes in the diplomatic environment and the rise of a new regionalism internationally. Berridge, Keens-Soper and Otte (2001) provide a historic background against which diplomacy has developed. These writers and thinkers’ extensive writing on the frameworks and theoretical prisms through which diplomacy finds expression in the international system adds an understanding of the institution’s interaction with the concept of change in political governance structures such as the UNSC.

Various international commentators, such as Carne Ross (2007: 25-26), have published highly critical accounts of the current international diplomatic construct and its governance. It has been argued that the states of today’s world existed and functioned within a closed international system and that colonialism brought a search for new values from within Africa. Africa would find progress through socialism and order through Pan-Africanism and African Nationalism as many

African leaders have propagated (Said, 1968). According to Patrick Bond (2003: 93) an international struggle exists between those who promote ‘global apartheid’ and those fighting for global social justice. In this context, South Africa, and Africa, in their quest to reform the UNSC, could broadly speaking be placed in the latter category, as they seek to include marginalized areas of the international community in deliberations on global peace and security.

The most comprehensive information on the structure and functioning of the UN is provided by the official records of the Organisation itself. The UN Charter provides the main legal framework within which any reform and function of the UN should be addressed. In addition, the various Resolutions passed both in the UN General

Assembly (UNGA) and in the Security Council, provide an extensive record on the evolution of the Organisation, e.g. the expansion of its membership and organs and amendments that have been made to the Charter and to the rules and regulations of the UN as organization. These also provide insight about how the UN community approaches global issues, what decisions have been taken and what actions need to be implemented in order to address, or redress, challenges such as UNSC reform.

The many UN Resolutions, Special Reports by UN Special Representatives and

Government statements as well as official communications quoted in the media or other publications, provide insight in the views of member states on the business of the UNSC, including views on potential reform of the UNSC. These documents are definitive references on the UNSC, however they do not provide insight into the dynamics of the negotiations and interactions, both at an individual level and at the broader international diplomatic level, nor do they reflect the deeper nuances of the interests and the influences of states and other global players, that brought the text and content to these documents.


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In the matter of UNSC structure, a host of authors have argued for reform of the powerful organ. The issue of global democratic representivity was not a consideration in the credentials to belong to the veto club when the UNSC was first established – and even today, is not a defining principle, as observed by Albert

Venter (2003) when he says that the “Big Five” simply reflected the international balance of forces at the time . Many commentators have offered proposals as to the architecture of a reformed Council. For example, South African foreign policy analyst Chris Landsberg in 1995 advocated for the lowering of the UNSC P-5 consensus level from 100% to 66% (the two-third majority principle) should the

UNSC membership be increased to 20 permanent members, e.g. in order to assist quick, effective and manageable decision making (Landsberg, 1995). A major literary contribution to the debate on UNSC reform, and an attempt to foster consensus on the way forward, was initiated when former Secretary-General Kofi

Annan established a High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Changes in

November 2003. The Panel’s 2004 report, A more secure world: Our shared

responsibility, recommends ways in which to strengthen the Security Council’s

authority, legitimacy and efficiency (UN, 2004). It attempted to distill two models from all the various proposals submitted by states and coalitions of states, hoping – as Yolanda Spies (2008: 102-104) observes – that one of the two models would achieve the support of a two-thirds majority of a required UNGA vote, in order to amend the Charter. In the run-up to the 60 th

birthday of the UN on 26 June 2005,

Kofi Annan said that the 2005 World Summit provided a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the world to revitalize the UN and to take global action on threats that require global solutions. His pronouncement raised expectations of imminent reform to the UNSC’s exclusive arena of global authority. However, as Spies (2008:

96) points out, it is indicative of the level of acrimony that marks the debate on

UNSC reform, that no majority (far less a consensus) on these proposals could be achieved during the World Summit. Indeed, not a single resolution on this debate was even tabled during that year’s UNGA session.

Changes to the diplomatic approach to conflict management (the purview of the

UNSC) also deal with issues like ‘preventative diplomacy’, which is a topic that has grabbed the attention of current UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon who has called for reinvigorating preventative diplomacy (Boutellis, Luck, and Mikulaschek

2011) Importantly, the latter brief emphasizes the increasingly significant role being played by the AU, African regional communities, particularly through the

Continental Early Warning System and other sub-regional mechanisms.

Spies (2008) argues that it is appropriate to focus on the relationship between

Africa and the UNSC when addressing the issue of the latter’s reform, since Africa dominates the Council’s agenda in terms of the number of conflicts unresolved and the number of humanitarian crises, thus also providing a reason for arguing in favour of a permanent African seat on the UNSC. Precisely because of African dominance of the UNSC agenda, including Africa’s particular international history,

African participation in the mandate of the UNSC as part of, rather than as a subsidiary of the UNSC, seems to be the overall argument in support of the African position on UNSC reform.


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There are, however, various contending AU positions as regards change to the

UNSC (UN, 2005). In 2005 the AU demanded two permanent, veto-wielding seats for Africa ( AU, 2005). An AU summit in August of that year failed to reach a compromise with the so-called Group of Four – Japan, Brazil, Germany and India – that had proposed Africa get two permanent seats but no veto power. Thabo

Mbeki, then South African President, the Sudan Tribune reported, said that he saw little chance of agreement at the 2005 UN Summit on an issue that requires support from the five permanent members. The US had said it only wanted "two or so" new permanent council members, while China opposed a permanent seat for Japan

(Sudan Tribune, 2005). The AU stuck with its original demand, and indicated it would vote to reject any Security Council reforms that did not expand the number of veto-wielding seats (UN, 2008).

The three main contenders for Africa’s seats are big powers on the continent:

Nigeria, Egypt and South Africa. Others that have expressed interests include

Senegal, Algeria and Kenya. During the UNGA debate on Security Council reform in 2008, Mauritius spoke on behalf of the AU. Nigeria and Egypt and Algeria made individual statements. South Africa did not, thus by implication, hold itself explicitly to the Ezulwini Consensus (UN, 2008).

It has been argued that forging a common African position on permanent membership to the UNSC would require lobbying for a seat that includes the right to a veto. It is important to note that it was the African collective, the then

Organization of African Unity (OAU) that made the first post WWII call for an expansion of the UNSC when the OAU Summit of 1963 called for a redressing of

Africa’s under-representation in all organs of the UN (OAU, 1963). This formed part of an emerging African international and multilateral positioning that sought a change from what Spies (2008: 99) calls a “paternalistic colonial” relationship between the UN and Africa to one of consultation amongst equals.

Africa’s latest declared stance on reform of the UNSC finds expression in the

Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declarations of the AU (5 July 2005) calling for five non-permanent African seats and two permanent, veto-wielding African seats in the

UNSC. Reflected in the AU Executive Council Report of its 7 th


Session during March 2005 is the fact that reform of the UNSC is something that cannot be seen in isolation from required transformation in the rest of the global governance system. The Ezulwini Consensus not only speaks to reform of the

UNSC, but also speaks to collective security and the challenge of prevention of a host of human security concerns. It also addresses wider institutional reform within the UN system, and states Africa’s goal to be fully represented in all-decision making organs of the UN, particularly the UNSC (AU, 2005). In response to the

High Level Panel’s proposed formulae for UNSC reform, the AU reiterated its demands as contained in the Ezulwini Consensus, adding that the criteria in terms of which African members should be represented, is one that needs to be determined by Africa (Spies, 2008).

The difficulties faced within the UNSC, where a power balance between states is sought, also echoes itself, unfortunately, at the continental and regional levels of the international relations realm. Africa, though one of the areas, or collectives, that has arguably undertaken one of the most active programmes in attempts to establish a pro-active peace and conflict management strategic alternative, suffers from similar imbalances. Unity in purpose, in culture, in operation, remains elusive


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and will remain a process, more so than a resolution, for the foreseeable future.

Some, such as Francois Vrey, refer to Africa’s integration under the AU as an emerging strategic culture, seeking to find a central role for an African Standby

Force as the ultimate responsible actor in the eradication of war from Africa (Vrey,

2009: 20). Frey, (2009: 30 – 36) points out that the building of institutions provides an empowering mechanism to mould strategic culture – a process that should ultimately lead to a fusion towards compromise and a more unitary expression of a strategic peace culture for Africa.

The African position, it has been convincingly argued by Chris Landsberg (2010), in his book, “The Diplomacy of Transformation”, has also been influenced by South

African diplomatic perspectives and style and the contributions made post 1994 towards conflict resolution in Africa, to the structures of the AU, and to the relationship between the AU and the UNSC.

Within these structures, one of the main initiatives is the African Peace and Security

Architecture (APSA). The AU 2010 Assessment Study provides insight into progress, trends and issues, including shortfalls (AU, 2010) and adds to the perspective on the UNSC-AU relationship that speaks directly also to the UNSC mandate on maintaining international peace and security. This latter study recalls the following from former South African Foreign Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, when she noted, during a UNSC debate on Peace and Security in Africa on 18

March 2009 that the UNSC still had not provided conclusive answers on ensuring necessary, sustainable, and predictable resources for African peacekeeping operations undertaken by the AU (Dlamini-Zuma, 2009). The same concern was raised by Laurie Nathan earlier, addressing the gap between mediation mandate and mediation capacity in Africa (Nathan, 2007) and reconfirmed by the African

Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) in a study in 2009

( Ndinga-Muvumba, 2009) .

The debate on UNSC reform is also influenced by a number of technicalities on sub-UNSC levels, particularly at the regional level, as alluded to in the paragraph above. The Institute of Security Studies (ISS) report identifies the need for further reform to the AU Peace and Security Council (AU PSC) and other AU structures. In this instance the report draws a ttention to circumstances where urgent action is needed and in which the approval of the UNSC can be granted ex-post facto, in cases where the AU or Regional Economic Communities (RECs) need to restore peace and security. It furthermore identifies the AU-UNSC relationship as being too broadly defined, and identifies the lack of proper consultation between the AU and the UNSC as an additional stumbling block. This results in a situation in which the

AU PSC and UNSC are not treated as equal partners and propose different approaches to addressing conflicts (Walker, 2012). Support for regional participation in the UNSC mandate to ensure global peace, is not limited to Africa.

Studies do show that most official peace processes are initiated, supplemented and facilitated by informal, sometimes unofficial peace processes and by people from the conflict regions with an in-depth knowledge and dedication to work on conflict in their region (Mason, 2009).

1.2.3 The South African Position on UNSC reform

As a broad international strategy, South Africa insists that multilateralism and a strengthening of the international participation of the global South in the


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international system remains the only way to ensure a more equitable global system. This debate in the public domain, is clearly demonstrated in an article by

Loyiso Langeni (2011), following a lecture by incumbent South African President

Jacob Zuma at the University of Pretoria where he emphasised that South Africa’s foreign policy was built on four pillars: the African Agenda, improving South-South cooperation, maintaining strong links with western countries and transforming the multilateral system. The emphasis on transformation within global governance was reiterated by South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, when she stated that South Africa was committed to work with like-minded countries and the G20 to facilitate reforming multilateral institutions that make up the system of global governance, adding that the UNSC is one such institution

South Africa believed, very strongly, should be more representative – in both composition and decision making processes (Nkoana-Mashabane, 2012a).

The South African contribution to the debate on reform of the UNSC should also be interpreted through the perspectives on the conduct of security constructs and dominant states within the international system. Examples on these perspectives can be found in numerous speeches by the two Deputy Ministers of International

Relations and Cooperation: respectively Marius Fransman (including a keynote address to the UN Country Team Retreat Reception, in Stellenbosch on 8 February

2011; a speech on ‘South Africa’s Role in the International Arena, at the University of the Western Cape on 12 May 2011; a speech ‘Promoting durable peace and sustainable development in Sudan and South Sudan, given at the ECOSOC

Chamber in New York on 13 June 2011) and Ebrahim I. Ebrahim (including his keynote address at the BRICS Round-Table discussion hosted by the International

Marketing Council and the Financial Times on 11 May 2011 and his speech ‘African solutions to African Problems’ presented at the University of Venda on 2 August


South Africa has been a proponent of such a reform process as for example explained by its participation in the African Perspectives on Security Sector Reform,

High-level Forum in New York on 14 May 2010. The outcome of this dialogue clearly reflects some aspects, including the fact that there is yet no agreement on exactly what the concept “national ownership” of any security sector reform process should entail, due to potential political ownership of such and, secondly, that donors and national actors do not have the same priorities, which one could, perhaps, also read as not having the same interests. The dialogue, furthermore, ended with a strong call for regional participation in security reform (UN, 2010a). This clearly demonstrates the dynamic between States and national interests on the one hand and the international community and its priorities on the other. Adedeji Ebo, Chief of the Security Sector Reform Unit of the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping

Operations, said at a press conference on 14 May 2010 that voices from societies where reform was taking place were often not sufficiently captured in the policy agenda of security sector reform. The aim of the meeting — co-sponsored and cochaired by the Permanent Missions of Nigeria and South Africa to the United Nations

— was to provide an opportunity for African voices to be amplified and worked more effectively into the broader security sector reform agenda (UN, 2010b).

There is not as yet a complete international system that can act as a world government and that could govern such a relationship. A global government is an ideal and does not reflect, or conform to, reality. After all, as Jakkie Cilliers and others (2010) have argued in their article “South Africa’s Second Term at the


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Security Council: Managing Expectations, “none of the aspirants to permanent UN

Security Council membership will want to upset any of the P5 members, especially the US and China, whose support is increasingly seen as vital to any successful bid to reform the Council”. In other words, these two dominant states, one hegemonic and the other potentially so, could hold the key to UNSC reform and unless they come to terms on the power balance between them and align their respective world views, currently in conflict to a holistic greater whole, the chances of reform to the

UNSC remain slim.

In addition to this, there are already institutions in place that address issues of international concerns specific to reform to the international system and also speak to the principles regarding human rights which are enshrined in the Charter of the

UN as well. In this instance the UN Human Rights Council plays a pivotal role: preparation of reports by this Council as part of a process preparing the environment for the execution of the mandate of the UNSC – in support of a multilateral approach closely involving amongst others, regional organizations – already form part of the modus operandi of the United Nations (UNGA HR Council

Report A/HRC/S-17/2).

South Africa also carries forward the theme and debate on reform to the international system within other newly established international dialogue platforms, such as IBSA and the BRICS formations, not to mention South Africa’s contributions towards the finalization of UNSC Resolution 2033 of 2012 that underscores the importance of developing effective partnerships between the

United Nations and regional organizations, in particular the AU (UN 2012).

The initial envisaged diplomatic contributions by South Africa to the reform of global political governance are reflected in various speeches by former South African

Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Nelson Mandela. Thabo Mbeki’s foreign relations focus was mainly on Africa, the building of African structures and the establishing of recognizable and effective partnerships between the AU and the UNSC. In a speech to the UNGA in 2008 he said that establishing an effective partnership between the UNSC and the AU PSC was of prime importance (Mbeki, 2008, [a]).

Earlier, in a speech to the European parliament in 2004, he elaborated on the structural changes that Africa was forming under the AU, similar to those of the EU, stating that Africa was taking charge of Africa and its future (Mbeki, 2004). In 1999, in his speech to the UNGA he referred to the opportunities afforded to the international community, following the end of the Cold War, which included the restructuring of the UN in moving the world to a more democratic system of international governance (Mbeki, 1999). Nelson Mandela, in a speech to the UN during 1993 (just before he became South Africa’s first post-apartheid President) urged the international community to view South Africa’s historic transition, marking a turning point in the history of the relations between South Africa and the rest of the world, not as an act of abstention but one of engagement (Mandela, 1993). In

1995, this former President informed South Africa in his State of the Nation Address that South Africa was committed to the vision contained in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the UN Charter and other important legal instruments and conventions that the UN has evolved to deal with the issues of racism, war and peace, human rights and development (Mandela, 1995). In 1998, he referred pertinently to the international dialogue as one in which questions about the structure of the UN, inter alia, was on the agenda (Mandela, 1998).


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South Africa, furthermore, is associating itself directly with the South and with emerging powers in this international reform debate. Incumbent South African

President Jacob Zuma, during his State of the Nation Address of 2011, explicitly brought this into the South African foreign policy domain by stating that South

Africa, by taking its non-permanent seat in the UNSC, would serve the interests of

Africa (Zuma, 2011a).

1.3 Formulation and demarcation of the research problem

The research question that forms the main focus of this study is: To what extent has

South Africa, through its diplomacy from 1994 to 2012, impacted the debate on reform of the UNSC? This question will be cross-examined by means of addressing the following subsidiary questions:

1. Why is there debate about UNSC reform and what is the status of the debate?

2. What informs the so-called "common position" on UNSC reform, adopted by


3. What is SA's position on UNSC reform and how does it relate to the African position?

4. What has SA done, diplomatically, from 1994 to 2012, to steer the debate?

One of the main reasons for the existence of a debate on reform of the UNSC is that the world has been experiencing a rise in influence by a number of countries and regions, following the end of the Cold War, which opened up spheres of influence other rising military and economic powers, such as China, India and

Brazil. Africa, as a region, has since the dying moments of colonialism been calling for reform to the international system, particularly in opposition to the West (or

North’s) right to decide the affairs of Africa.

Africa’s common position, as written into the Ezulwini and Sirte Declarations, is as much a response to the changing international environment, as it is a continuation on the path of its post-colonial international independence and its emergence from the constraints placed upon Africa as so-called non-aligned international members of the international community during the Cold War. It is now seeking firmer alliances in a changing world. Africa, at the time of the construction of the UN and

UNSC, was represented by only four member states. It now holds more than a quarter of the votes in the UN.

South Africa’s current position is aligned to an African consensus on UNSC reform.

It is from Africa, as a member of the AU and from the South as a member of the UN where it foremost would, when the UNSC changes again, have to draw enough voting support for its own ambitions to enter the UNSC as a fully-fledged permanent member with all the associated powers. Although the interests of states will weigh heavily on choices made in these regards, consensus support, which is the nature of the multilateral system in operation, should have the most important over-arching bearing on garnering support for South Africa’s ambitions. The latter is reflected especially in its participation in newly established cross-regional groupings, such as the BRICS and IBSA, which could be seen as a natural and deliberate expansion of relations with the South, or developing world. Importantly, as a potential future


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permanent member of the UNSC, South Africa has also acted within the UNSC, not without controversy, during two periods following shortly on another, as a nonpermanent member of the Council during the period under discussion in this study.

South Africa’s diplomatic positioning in these regards seems to call for and work towards structurally changing the international system (post-Marxist Structuralism), to broaden and further internationalize the international community participation in the international system (neo-Liberalism), partly to redress an ingrained power relationship, specifically in the UNSC, that is a direct expression of the Realists’ view of how the international system expresses itself.

In the attempt to provide answers to the relevance for all of the above, a conclusion to this study should provide an indication as to the success of the South African diplomatic contribution in the evaluation of the current debate on reform of the

UNSC. In particular the research should enrich the debate and provide impetus towards taking the South African and African positions forward. South Africa’s strategic diplomatic positioning and contribution in new regional and trans-regional structures, such as IBSA and BRICS should add to the perspective on the debate on reform of global political governance.

This study will be a product of consultation and evaluation of primary and secondary resources, including references to historical developments and timelines pertaining to diplomatic practice and theory .

Primary literature that will be consulted on the debate of reform of the UNSC include UN documentation, declarations and reports, accessed through the UN website, government statements and speeches pertaining to developments within and related to the UNSC. Primary sources would also include official AU documentation (such as its Constitutive Act and various Resolutions) statements on the theme by other international groupings and entities, such as India-Brazil-South

Africa (IBSA), Brazil-Russia- India-China-South Africa (BRICS), Southern African

Development Community (SADC) as well as statements and speeches emanating from the South African Government.

Secondary resources that relate to diplomatic history and diplomatic interaction, including contributions by think tanks and international relations commentators and academia, the private sector and other civil society organisations, as well as the media will be consulted.

The research will not include interviews, unless covered in a secondary source, or surveys, unless referred to in a secondary source. The use of fieldwork is not foreseen in this study. This research will not involve individuals as units of analysis. The study will, therefore, not have ethical implications.

The study will primarily be employing a qualitative and analytical approach. The research will utilise data collected from available and verifiable sources in the public domain. The research methodology will be inductive and will, therefore, open the opportunity for additional research on the theme, especially in light of a perceived need to add to research from a South African perspective, on the topic



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1.5 Structure of the Research

The current Chapter has provide an introduction to the theme and provided the context of the research, including reasons for focusing on South Africa’s used and has provided a brief survey of the literature that will be covered.

Chapter 2 will provide an overview of the history and present structure of global power. This will include reference to theoretical frameworks for the international relations environment, diplomatic theory and will situate the theoretical orientation of

South Africa’s diplomatic approach. It will provide a historical overview of reform of the UNSC and the conceptual framework within which the UNSC acts within the international relations environment. Structural changes within global power relations will be explored to ascertain the need for corresponding changes in the UNSC.

Chapter 3 will provide a historical overview of the African position with regard to

UNSC reform including the contributions made to the international debate on the theme. Of specific interest will be the process that produced an African Common

Position in this regard.

The development or evolving AU and UNSC relationship in conflict management will form an additional focus area of this chapter.

Chapter 4 will evaluate specific South African positions on UNSC reform and how these have been projected in the country’s diplomacy in the period 1994 to 2012.

The two terms that South Africa served as non-permanent member of the Council,

2007/2008 and 2011/2012, will receive specific attention, as they have offered a simulation of South Africa’s possible permanent membership. South Africa’s multilateral strategies to impact the debate on UNSC reform, inter alia its diplomatic manoeuvring within the scope of its so-called “African Agenda” and its various global South diplomatic alliances and strategic partnerships, will be examined.

Chapter 5 will provide an overview and evaluation and will draw together the main conclusions of the mini-dissertation and provide a final evaluation of the evidence produced with regard to South Africa’s post 1994 diplomatic contributions to the debate on UNSC reform. In addition, proposals will be offered related to potential future research.

1.6 Concluding Remarks

This study thus aims to provide a rationale for and status of the international debate on reform of the UNSC. In particular, South Africa’s diplomatic objectives as part of this debate clearly need to be put into perspective. The importance of this should not be understated since South Africa has laid claim to an international intention to seek reform to international governance, including reform of the UNSC. Its diplomatic projection is evidently aimed at taking a permanent seat in a reformed

UNSC. As a result its diplomatic activities would require particular attention to this issue and would no less be subject to close international scrutiny as well as influenced by the capricious nature of IR.

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2.1 Introduction

Emma Rothschild writes that one of the objectives of post-war reconstruction is to reconstruct the possibility of peace. This, after all, formed the rationale for the establishment of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and for replacing the

League of Nations with the United Nations (UN) after World War Two (WWII).

World-wide conflicts of our modern times have resulted in intense changes to the institutions and ideas of international security. Global and human aspirations for equality, rights, opportunity and wealth also call for a shift in emphasis from the rights and well-being of the national group (the state) to the rights and well-being of the individual transferred to the sphere of the international organisation – as E.H

Carr argued (Rothschild, 1995: 94). This international perspective is, however, also influenced by and often countered by the societal views of communities or cultures that regard the common as over-imposingly important. This is true of African societies – also reflected in their political organization where the belief is that the community, or organization, is more important than the individual, thus also undermining the concept of private property. At the same time the communal aspects of international society, namely that of cooperation and common values and equal treatment and equal justice are being entrenched at the higher international levels as well. In 1982, the Palme Commission on Disarmament and

Security, independently organised by former Swedish Prime Minister Olaf Palme, presented its report on ‘Common Security’ and found – taking into consideration security in the presence of nuclear weapons – that states could no longer seek security at each other’s expense; it could only be attained through cooperative undertaking. Even Cyrus Vance, US Secretary of State under President Jimmy

Carter from 1977 to 1980, referred to the expanding existence of nuclear and conventional weapons as a weakness in the international system, since it reflects the reality that the international system lacks significant structure of laws and norms of behaviour accepted and observed by all states (Rothschild, 1995: 96).

The international order is still a relationship between states, not a relationship between men. The common security of states, therefore, includes the choice to forego certain individual freedoms, such as the freedom to overthrow another state by force, for the common good of all – and to avoid nuclear war. This, it could be argued, might have been a success, but this system has not prevented interstate conventional wars or intra-state conflict associated with the interests of the aspirations of global citizens, nor regional or ethnic or religious conflicts, or those associated with the interests of the most powerful amongst the states.

Demilitarization of the international system should thus form part of changing the international system, and the proposed extension of the UNSC should lead to the establishment of a more extensive conceptualisation of international security and providing more material support for individual rights and expanding civil instruments of international policy. Changes to the pertinent contribution of states, identified by their military capacity only, would be weakened by an extended UNSC. The international community is, furthermore, increasingly identified by a rapidly being eroded by economic and cultural globalisation and by financial integration,


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including the extensive influence of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the

World Bank (WB) and the current revival and expansion of regional integration

The latter remains a prominent phenomenon despite the current rise in resistance to further European Union (EU) integration at national levels in certain European states. It remains a phenomenon as reflected in a growing debate on UN and

UNSC reform as part of a broader global governance debate. It is also reflected in a changing global balance of power and the emergence and re-emergence of regional groupings, of which the African Union is one that has undergone some of the most drastic changes in recent history.

This chapter will, against the briefly stated background above, focus on the issue of global political governance as a theme in IR theory; it will refer to the UNSC as a manifestation of global governance and will trace the current status of the imperatives for change to the UNSC.

2.2 Global political governance as a theme within International Relations theory

According to Andrew Hurrell, International Relations theory is mainly concerned with power, with interests, with values and with value conflict (Barnett and Duvall,

2005: 35–37). Hurrell claims that governance, including international governance, has three overriding objectives: one is the management of power; two, is the promotion of common interests; three, is the mediation of difference. Theorists like

Der Derian in discussing diplomacy and its form and place as endeavour of humankind and the role it plays in international relations, concentrate extensively on the ideas of diplomacy, on the philosophical bedrock of diplomacy and how diplomacy therefore finds expression in its relationships (Der Derian, 1987).

Theorists have thus, in this instance, focused in particular on the mediation of differences in the quest of establishing agreement on common interest and the management of power. Diplomacy is, therefore, a continuum of continuous mediation through the expression of structure, ideas and values and of interests in convergence with or in divergence from crises in international association as manifested by alienation in relations.

Various theories have contributed significantly to our understanding and interpretation of international relations and diplomacy.

Liberal Institutionalism that stresses governance and the deepening of the international society globally, which should diffuse problems associated with power and interests and find common ground for cooperation and value systems still cannot solve the implications and understanding of the foundational problems in the relationships between power and governance (Barnett and Duvall, 2005).

Liberal Constructivism has an additional important role to play in International

Relations theory, since this theory does more than just describe the power relationships internationally and speak to more than the collective action paradigms towards solving international problems that Liberal Institutionalism speaks to.

Liberal Constructivism helps explain how new norms emerge and how they are


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diffused across the international system and how states’ interests change and evolve (Barnett and Duvall, 2005).

The reality remains, however, that power expressed within the international system does not look for efficiency and consistency in international systems, but is usually applied in such a manner that it manipulates the international system towards addressing the interests associated with a particular power. Andrew Hurrell

(Barnett and Duvall, 2005) calls this the problem of international legitimacy linked to the degree to which the structures of global governance are contaminated by the preferences and special interests of the powerful. Just as states could be discriminatory and repressive due to an internal democratic deficit, so can international governance structures and bodies – such as the UN, the WTO, the

IMF and the World Bank – suffer from a similar democratic deficit due to the absence of systems of adequate accountability and representation (Barnett and

Duvall, 2005).

There is an undeniable perspective that plays a crucial role in the manner, namely the Historicism of the South (the latter having mostly been colonized in recent history by the West) thus inevitably linking the issue of colonial and post-colonial governance to the international relations perspectives of the South (Barnett and

Duvall, 2005).

The UN and the UNSC should, therefore, contribute, from a South perspective, to redress the historical colonial imbalances internationally expressed in power relationships and maintain, or restore, peace in a peaceful manner. The UN, says

Ramesh Thakur, seeks to replace the balance of power with a community of power that would rule the world with reason, that would outlaw war by mobilizing the collective will of the world community and that would apprehend and punish international law breakers and thus promulgate new norms and ensure collective legitimacy. The UN has no doubt contributed significantly to international social justice. One of its earlier achievements, which also brought the themes of growth and development into the international collective folds, was its overseeing of decolonization in many parts of the world (Thakur, 2006).

If the UNSC is the geopolitical centre of gravity, the UNGA, with its universal membership, is the normative centre of gravity. This was true of the role it played in delegitimizing colonialism and proclaiming racial equality as a global norm in delegitimizing apartheid as an ideology and a system of government (Thakur, 2006:


The international post-WWII power construct, not only in terms of the powerful states that were left in its wake, but also in terms of the regional security constructs that came with it, such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), continues to exert pressures that from time to time sideline the UN. “During the Cold War, it seemed, NATO’s purpose was to keep the Americans in, the Germans down and the Russians out; after the Cold War the question is asked whether NATO’s role is being changed to keep the Americans in, the Russians down and the United

Nations out – as was demonstrated in Kosovo” (Thakur, 2006: 210-211). The overall interests of powerful states thus still dominate behavior in the international system. When in deadlock in the UNSC, or when a position of overwhelming power is perceived as real by a state, attempts would be made to circumvent the UNSC.

A good example is the current international positioning of the P-3 powers in a


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conference known as the “Friends of Syria” (Syrian National Council, 2012) and the

Kofi Annan and P-2 organization of an international conference known as the Syrian

Contact Group as diplomatic continuation of the international debate on the crisis in

Syria, following the deadlock in the UNSC created by a double veto by Russia and

China of Chapter VII action against Syria (, 2012).

The international question of equitable distribution of opportunities and influence, multilateralism and collective leadership in the international system, is addressed as follows by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov against the background of the current so-called Arab Spring revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East and the crises in Libya and Syria:

“… there are more than enough reasons for taking the most balanced approach to the Syrian crisis that represents the most acute situation in the region today. It is clear that after what had happened in Libya it was impossible to go along with the

UN Security Council taking decisions that would not be adequately explicit and would allow those responsible for their implementation to act at their own discretion.

Any mandate given on behalf of the entire international community should be as clear and precise as possible in order to avoid ambiguity” (Lavrov, 2012).

These histories referred to above by Sergey Lavrov, find resonance in Critical

Sociology. Andrew Linklater is acknowledged in this regard in his discussion of discourse ethics in international relations, which is mainly what Lavrov refers to above, namely that international discourse is resonating with struggles for recognition that seek to break the shackles of denigration and disrespect and which already contain the promise of eventual unity of mankind (Griffiths, 2007: 47–59).

In a similar fashion the European Parliament Foreign Policy Report of 10 January

2012 acknowledges that Brazil, Russia, China, India, Indonesia, Turkey and Mexico are projected to have larger economies by 2050 than the current G7 nations and that the EU, as a result, should consider a strategic dialogue with the BRICS countries, individually and collectively.

The UNSC and the UN operate with several constructed security arrangements within the anarchic system of states. According to Bruce Cronin (1999: 8–12) these are the following:

The first is known as an international state of nature, which is a function of power and opportunity with no mutual recognition of borders.

Two is known as the balance of power system, including the current international system of states and the concept, or principle of, sovereignty.

Three is Concerts, or multilateral institutions for high level diplomatic collaboration, e.g. great power conferences usually referred to as Congresses.

Four is the Common Security Association (CSA), formed to express solidarity and to legitimize a specific form of political or ideology. The CSA is transnational in nature.

Five is a type of arrangement which is an Amalgamated Security Community (ASC) where states voluntarily cede their sovereignty to create a new political identity.


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Six is a Pluralistic Security Community (PSC), where states develop a regional identity in which they see their security as linked with that of the region as a whole.

Seven is a Collective Security System (CSS) which is formed when all states within a given system share a Cosmopolitan Identity that identifies them as members of a single community of nations.

International relations and diplomatic theory still has relevance for the current discussion on the changing and possible future nature and expectations of international politics after the Cold War. These expectations differ and coincide, just as the theoretical debates continue to contribute in their own domains to developments in the international relations arena. The debate on the post-Cold

War future of international relations is still contemplating whether the global order would become more cooperative, or more isolationist, or return to a pre-WWI order of hyper nationalism . The various main International Relations theories, in summary, argued and explained the various perspectives post-Cold War as follows:

Neo-Realists argue that the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of a bi-polar order would undermine the delicate balance and stability of the international order and predict that a new balance of power would emerge that would form the basis of a New Order. The Neo-Liberals argue that as nations continue to become increasingly locked into a series of more complex interdependent international relations, stability would be maintained through these interlinking relationships.

Institutionalists argue that stability could be maintained through the construction of international institutions that stabilize domestic political structures and facilitate cooperation amongst states. Liberal Internationalists argue that with the ascendency of democracy as the dominant form of state organization an increasing number of states would resolve differences through international institutions under the rule of law (Cronin, 1999).

In diplomatic terms thus, between a view that regards diplomacy as a function of and as a result of alienation in international relations and those who prefer to view the world in a holistic fashion.

Moreover, the theories that put forward democracy in statecraft are at the heart of this debate as well. It can be argued that this is so, not only as regards the international impact that the democratic revolution historically has had on the development of governance within the state, but also of the system of states in itself and on the conduct of relations between states in the international society.

Democracy defined as rule with the consent of the ruled has come to be associated with the most successful and most humane human systems devised thus far to address efficient policy making, handling domestic challenges, managing diversity, and is better tuned into the needs of its citizens. Johan Galtung has explained that the world as a political system combines anarchic features of non-rule with hierarchical features of non-democratic rule whilst at the same time the world as an economic system is based on hidden rule. As a consequence global development and environment policies hurt poor people in poorer countries hardest, whilst security policies tend to be in the interests of higher class and rich countries. The current non-democratic global procedures, such as the UN run by big powers will be accepted for some time, but global democracy will increasingly become in global demand (Galtung, 1995).


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Galtung proposes a radical overhaul of the entire UN system towards the establishment of democratic world government as part of proposals that are being put forward in this regard. His proposal includes a system that would consist of a

World Assembly of States (the UNGA that already exists), a World Assembly of

People (as a second chamber to the Assembly of States, or UNGA) and a World

Assembly of Trans National Corporations (as a United Nations Corporate

Assembly), with a World Assembly of Aegis, World Assembly of International Public

Organizations (IPO) and a World Assembly of Chambers of Commerce as consulting bodies (Galtung, 1995).

Galtung’s arguments are, of course, aligned with that of the English School of thought that broadly speaking identifies international relations theory as belonging to Realism ( relations defined by power and interests alone ) , Revolutionism ( the theories that define that revolutions, e.g. the Protestant, French and Communist and African Revolutionary thought shape the international system ) and Rationalism

(the defining role of international law in international relations and international systems) (Fawn and Larkins, 1996). Together these theories form a structural theoretical approach to international relations, however, there is no singly theory yet that could fully describe and predict the international relations environment.

Der Derian (1996) commenting on Hedley Bull’s concept of international relations culture, describes the understanding of the relations between the institutions of international society, including states, as the symbolic mediation of estrangement and not as interdependence, as has already been alluded to above. This view stands in contradiction to the liberal – and rational – views of Galtung and others, that predict as many did at the end of the Cold War, that there would be a convergence of norms and values in international society which would remove the institution of war, or at least its presence among its core members (Fawn and

Larkins, 1996). Liberal democracy according to these arguments, therefore, should become the internationally accepted norm. However, in the absence of this being a universally applied norm, other theories still provide additional insight into the behaviour of the international relations system.

The fates of theoretical concepts are also intertwined with the realities of history.

These theories that attempt to understand and predict international relations, are subject to the unpredictable turns and twists of history. Furthermore, socialscientific concepts, of which international theory is a part, have an ideological character. Importantly, it is not necessary to take a Marxist stance in order to utilise the concept of ideology. The ideological aspects of ideas and theories are particularly emphasised by Shaw (1996) who argues that religion can be ideological and that democracy is ideological. Capitalism and all the revolutions thus far experienced by humankind have been ideological in nature as well. The main argument in this regard is that only through the historical significance of a theory, can the ideological aspect of a theory be suggested, or confirmed.

History in itself is incomplete and surprisingly unpredictable. This is reason enough for Der Derian (1996) to argue that he knows of no model that has assisted our understanding of international relations. This does not mean that models have not described international society and its interaction in the international relations domain. What he says is that models have not brought full understanding. This also conforms to the various levels at which the debate on the reform of the UN, and in particular that of the UNSC, is raging and which finds expression in policy


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positions. The debate is, therefore, a debate on structure (models), on norms and values (expressed in Liberalism and Marxism, e.g.) and on behaviour (Realism and

International Law). Academics such as Steve Smith when writing on IR Theory and

IR as a practice or a discipline contends that IR Practice is much more state centric and unquestioning of the dominance of realism than what IR Theory might argue

(Smith, 2000).

He refers to Ole Weaver’s neo-neo synthesis as a mainstream comprising neorealism and neo-liberalism which, in essence, advocates a synthesis of these main stream theories and which could provide the links between the wider debates of these social philosophies grappling with post-constructive theories, such as postcolonialism, post-Marxism and peace studies towards a more unified critical theory on IR (Smith, 2000). Within this schism of IR theories pronouncing on the system and systems of states internationally, Der Derian is correct in his view that no model has assisted in the full understanding of IR. Stateless forms of international organisation historically, such as the concept of Empire, for example, have thus far also not provided an alternative solution. A higher order and cross-cultural, even cross ideological arrangements, perhaps more holistic approaches have, as a result, also become part of the debate on international governance reform.

Would not referring to race in international relations leave reflection on the paradigms within, or the canvass against which international relations are considered and the study of international relations incomplete? The answer might not be self-revealing. However, taking into consideration the history of slavery, the history of colonialism, the history of African-American diplomacy, Africa’s struggle for independence and South Africa’s history of and struggle against Apartheid, the answer is, yes, it would.

Therefore, Apartheid and the end of that period in history, racism expressed internationally through colonialism, South Africa and Africa’s struggles and wars in these regards and freedom under duress in a similar manner experienced in the

US, for example, have found its recognition in international relations as well. Abdul

Said expresses this history when he writes on African Revolutionary Thought,

African Socialism and African structuring of its independence through Pan-

Africanism and Nationalism (Said, 1968). The question of race is not merely an anecdote in the history and the practice of international relations. Michael Krenn

(1999) writes extensively about this international struggle when he relates the struggle between African Americans and the US State Department between 1945 and 1961. Although this timeframe seems of too remote a historical origin to be of relevance to this study, Krenn confirms that the struggle for African Americans to break into the white dominated State Department continued into the 1970s, 1980s and the 1990s.

African Americans saw the fight against colonialism and apartheid as an extension of their struggle for civil rights in the US. Martin Luther King Jr. remarked that racism and militarism are very closely tied together, especially in what was basically a war of colonialism. African American Philip Randolph, writing to President

Eisenhower in June 1953 asked Eisenhower not to be deceived by the cry of

Communism as a cause of the violent unrest and uprising, revolt and revolution against the white man in Kenya and South Africa. An editorial in “The Crisis” in May

1960 titled “The Rising Tide of Color” claimed that a battle was brewing between the un-free peoples of the world, predominantly coloured, and the white civilization.


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This battle was taking place on many fronts: at North Carolina lunch counters and in the African Empires of the Portuguese, British, French and Belgians and in the apartheid system of South Africa. In 1952 then US President Truman in a speech to the National Emergency Civil Rights Mobilization Conference praised America’s diversity, but lamented the fact that much of the trouble of the world was the result of false ideas of racial supremacy (Krenn, 1999).

Not only is the issue of race an ingrained substance in the freedom struggles of

Africa and South Africa, but it remains an unresolved issue that aggravates participants in the international relations environment. Thus, the walkout of the US and Israeli delegations from the United Nations conference on racism in September

2001 in Durban, South Africa, confirms this dilemma’s status in international relations (Marsden, 2001).

Note should thus be taken of radicalism in diplomacy as well. Paul Sharp gives extensive attention to diplomatic theory that deals with the radical tradition, or revolutionary diplomacy, and the problems it represents in terms of accommodation and co-option into the international system. Conventional diplomats maintain a rhetoric consistency in terms of what their principles want them to do, whereas revolutionary diplomats need to strike a balance between what their movements want them to do internationally and what the revolutionary ethos requires in terms of the destruction or transformation of both (Sharp, 2009).

The most influential tempering force on revolutionary diplomacy is probably the return of their diplomatic practice to operating within a state within the international system of states. A good example is the African National Congress (ANC) as revolutionary organisation becoming a Government post-1994. Hereafter it continued to act as a government within the confines of the System of States and international governance rules, regulations and in accordance with international law in international diplomacy at the UN as well as other international organisations.

Sharp, however, also claims that diplomacy and diplomats have been at the heart of every profound transformation in the structures and the processes of international relations that have ever taken place, such as the Treaty of Westphalia that sanctioned the international system of states, the Congress of Vienna with its restorative human rights intent, the Conference of San Francisco that resulted in the

United Nations replacing the League of Nations and the Rome Statute and EU

Treaties (Sharp, 2009). To this must be added the OAU and its transformation into the African Union and the more recent establishment of IBSA and the BRICS.

Sharp also characterizes the international relations environment and diplomacy as relations of separateness – much as Der Derian describes diplomacy largely as an international practice that is steeped in Western philosophy that accentuates alienation (mainly a philosophical vessel for free thinking individualism) as its main characteristic – which makes them difficult to maintain in a peaceful manner since they are vulnerable to misunderstanding and lack many constraints on using violence when things go wrong. Therefore, the argument is made that one should not be seeking reconciliation between worldviews, but co-existence (Sharp, 2009).

South Africa’s foreign policy seems to conform to a hybrid of these theories, or stances, on international relations. The fact that South Africa on 18 June 2012, for example, pledged USD 2 billion to the IMF at the G20 Summit in Mexico,

(Moneyweb, 2012) following shortly on the heels of expressing its support for the


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establishment of a BRICS Development Bank at the BRICS Summit in India in

March 2012 – South Africa being a member of both the G20 and the BRICS – is a clear example of how South Africa is bridging itself across the accepted international divides of North-South and ideologically and theoretically across

Liberal-Capitalism and Structuralism (neo-Marxism) to Rationalism and Historicism.

What South Africa does not support at the international level is a revolutionary overhaul of international systems, but it primarily seeks a change in behaviour in international governance, together with more cooperation, internationally, searching for a more holistic (or Ubuntu) approach to human relations. Ubuntu for this purpose is meant to mean that the individual’s humanity is caught up in the humanity of others (Smith, 2003). This would necessarily take into consideration changes in the international relations environment and also address structural dilemmas and human rights shortfalls.

2.3 The UNSC as manifestation of global political governance

The UNSC, originally consisting of only eleven members, namely the Permanent

Five (US, UK, France, China and the USSR) together with six non-permanent members who served on the UNSC on a rotational basis, remained as such until

1965, when the number of non-permanent members was increased from six to ten by an amendment of the Charter. Each Council member has one vote. Decisions on procedural matters are made by an affirmative vote of at least nine of the 15 members. However, decisions on substantive matters require nine votes that include the concurring votes of all five permanent members. This is the rule of

"Great Power unanimity", often referred to as the "veto" power. Until today this remains the only major overhaul of the international system of the relationship between States, and remains to a large extent a European and Western construct.

This reality is a result of the pre-dominant economic and military positions globally of the US and of NATO. The UNSC , one can conclude, is thus geared towards maintaining the immediate post-war balance of power after the defeat of the aggressor states in WWII.

The UN has other functions as well, namely, as an agreed upon international construct its aims are mainly directed at broadening international cooperation and ensuring adherence to international conventions on human rights, peace and security, international integration and particularly the prevention of wars at the scale experienced as WWI and WWII. It needs to be reminded that under the UN

Charter, all Members of the UN agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the

Security Council. While other organs of the UN make recommendations to

Governments, the Council alone has the power to take decisions which Member

States are obligated under the UN Charter to carry out. Furthermore, history provides the evidence that the in ternational c ommunity as embodied by the UN and its members, the States, is primarily a reflection of the history of its members and of the evolution of international diplomacy in conduct, in ideas and values, and in the forging and ratifying of an expanding body of international law. It is also faced by a seemingly unstoppable evolving of new and unexpected challenges to humankind on the planet. History brings change to societies in general, it confers static concepts of form and culture and constructs in particular, it brings calamity that forges change, but it also subjects itself to the will of humankind. Taking into consideration that much in history came about as a result of the calamity of division


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and of war, one would expect that the peaceful management of change and adaptation to change by international systems should be the preferred approach.

First and foremost in addressing change in the international relations domain and reform in international governance, must be the acknowledgement that the UN does not represent unanimity, and secondly, that the UN is mainly a two-tier organisations consisting of a gathering of nations – the General Assembly – and a gathering of international powers - the Security Council and its Permanent Five (P-

5) members with veto powers – which reflect a world view anchored in the horrors of WWI and WWII and the fear of repeating such a scenario. It is also anchored in the acceptance of a reality that the need to balance the power between those

States that seek to and are capable to act as (a) global hegemon(s) is necessary – therefore the agreed upon veto powers of the P-5. It is also very much a reflection of unsettled conflict – unfinished business in history – and a divide on the interpretation of the value system that should form the basis of the international system.

This is probably not better illustrated than the divergent views that are currently being expressed in the UNSC on developments in Syria (in itself a failure, since

UNSC unanimity could not be reached on solving the conflict and humanitarian injustices in Syria); also in the debate on the interpretation of the legality and legitimacy of UNSC Resolution 1973 implementation on Libya; and, on the continuous attempts to forge wider and more efficient cooperation between the

UNSC and the rest of the UN, as well as other international organisations and the various organs and societies of states. The UNSC deadlock on Syria has in fact moved the struggle for pre-eminence outside the Council into divergent international conferences – one known as the “Friends of Syria” driven by the P-3 and one known as the “Action Group”, driven by Russia and supported by China. Conflict associated with the internal struggle in Syria for free political association has, as a result, taken on the characteristics of a proxy war reflecting the interests of the P-3 against that of Russia and China in the region and of the emerging geo-political and religious ambitions of countries such as Saudi-Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Iran. It is, furthermore, and reflective of the latter, often also found in a persistent split on views and modus operandi that exist between Africa and its former colonial masters, also manifested in a perceived split between interests in Africa aligned along linguistically defined regions, to the interests of former colonial masters.

The voices in favour of change in the main argue that the UN in its mandate to deliver on international peace and security can only be successful once there is proper consideration of the new international realities presented by a Post Cold War multi-polar world and when the UN is strengthened in its task through the strengthening of a decentralized global system of peace prevention, peace-making, peace-keeping and peace building. This should also be embodied in the development of efficient and closer coordination between the UN and r egional o rganizations.

The question remains whether such an approach would necessarily result in a change to the UNSC structure, or whether the above diplomatic approach is no more than a necessary response to the inherent inability of the UNSC to completely manage conflict in terms of its mandate. A new regionalism and closer cooperation between regional organizations and the UNSC are, therefore, necessary in order to counter UN failures in conflict management. Not only are the failures of the UNSC


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in the conflict and peace arena evident due to limitations on its mandate, be it financial, institutional inabilities, but also due to the fact that States are still ultimately responsible for the well-being of their citizens.

Addressing these realities, one would imagine, should require commitment to an increase in participation in dialogue among political, social, economic, and cultural forces globally as a means of resolving conflicts and designing institutional processes. It realistically thus calls for a new multilateralism that has the hope of overcoming these divisive tendencies of the current world order. One such a dialogue could well be developmental regionalism such as the new regional orientations and other multilateral formations subsequently established, such as

IBSA and BRICS, and of which South Africa forms part. More will be said on this later in this study.

Although this study is not a legal interpretive study of the UNSC and the UN

Charter, it must be kept in mind that the Charter of the UN is the closest construct at the international level to a constitution that lays down the fundamental rights and duties of member states. It is also a construct that has progressively extended its reach to the whole international community. The UN Charter is, however, more of an i nternational t reaty than an i nternational c onstitution. Therefore, its implementation is open to interpretation, and as has been argued by the South

African government, following the implementation of UNSC Resolution 1973 on

Libya, open to misinterpretation (Ebrahim, 2011[c]) This interpretation as decision, as a political act, or an act of will, speaks directly to the implementation of UNSC r esolutions (Abi-Saab, 1995: 143–160).

The UN Charter is silent on a special procedure for its interpretation. It does not specify the legal effect of its interpretation. This matter had not been overlooked in

San Francisco in 1945. During the international conference that ended in the signing of the UN Charter a Belgian amendment would have imposed, if accepted, an obligation on the political organs of the UN to request an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice if a dispute arose amongst their midst on the interpretation of the Charter. Abi-Saab (1995), however, admits that in the presence of sufficient political will and the veto, the latter is in fact a moot point. He, nevertheless, refers to this weakness as “Unused Charter Capacity for Global

Governance”, also the title of his article under reference here. Charter capacity deficit in other words deems it necessary that global governance need to tighten the international legal regime of which the UNSC is an integral part, including the formidable challenge to have the international community as a unit in the form of states incorporate international conventions into their national legislation. This should assist uniform international behaviour when it comes to international governance.

Various reasons for reform of the UN system, in particular the UNSC, have been raised. One reason is that the international community has completely changed.

Only 51 states were founding member states of the UN. The UN has since increased almost fourfold and the majority of its members belong to African and

Asian countries. The Security Council’s role has also increased since the end of

WWII and since the end of the Cold War. Its peacekeeping operations have increased and it has taken on administrative functions, e.g. in Kosovo before its independence. The Council has also taken on a legislative function, e.g. resolutions that address terrorism which oblige states to legislate in order to address


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proliferation and to prevent Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery to fall in the hands of non-state actors. The international community is also facing new global threats such as terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and climate change and there is, in addition, a need to further refine the principles of the use of force by states in the events of threats to peace and of genocide, or the developing doctrine of pre-emptive strikes to meet latent threats stemming from WMD accumulation (Ronzitti, 2010).

Therefore, as much as the UNSC is a reflection of the history of humankind, it is also a reflection of change within the international community, not necessarily adequately mirrored by the structures and operation of the UNSC, which, as a result, produce this continuous diplomatic conversation on reform. The assumption, and the demand, is that the international construct that ultimately represents the global human community – we, the peoples – must necessarily reflect this transformation. Reform at all levels of the United Nations as well as the relationship between it and regional organizations should eventually be reflected in an expanded contribution to and participation in the UNSC as well.

This position should, therefore, take into consideration the changes, as James

Rosenau (1995: 2–57) explains, that are being manifested in the challenges presented by a growing interdependent world driven by globalisation, the expansion of education, information technology and communication, the globalisation of national economies, international financial integration and the consequent eroding of state sovereignty, all contributing to a new kind of international citizenry.

Ultimately this new reality is driving change to international governance. It should be instructive, as part and parcel of this global debate, to more closely unpack

African and South African contributions in these regards – as will be done in subsequent chapters.

2.4 The imperative for structural changes to the UNSC

As has already been said, there is increasingly little in politics that could be regarded as completely local in its nature. Globalisation and technology have seen to it that all politics have become, or is fast becoming, international (Ross, 2007).

The UNSC, within this context, still remains the ultimate international legal body with the global responsibility, in terms of the UN Charter, to ensure global peace and security. This reality inevitably opens the way for scrutiny of the UNSC.

Within the current fluidity of the international relations environment, various forces and foreign policy positioning are at play that both confirm looming change and the perspectives and historicism of ingrained behaviour and a continued expression of international relations based on a power paradigm. American a cademic Noam

Chomsky confirms the view that the loss of control by America over its forward global positions in the Middle East and Asia would threaten the project of global dominance articulated during World War II (Chomsky, 2011).

The question of criteria, universally accepted at the international level, serves a serious problem to this debate.

Emma Rothschild (1995) for example argues that the UN Charter in itself needs to be strengthened in some aspects. The expanded use of Chapter VI, particularly the


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peaceful settlement of disputes, i.e. by pure diplomatic persuasion in favour of military or economic coercion, should be as important as the expanded use of

Chapter VII on the use of force. She also argues that the same should be the case for the expanded use of Chapter X dealing with economic and social justice. The expansion or reform of the UNSC and the criterion for UNSC Permanent

Membership should require less post-war military history and be based more on capability – institutional and constitutional – to contribute to peace-keeping.

Johan Galtung expresses the same hope, in line with expectations that the end of the Cold War would bring to the UNSC a so-called soft power approach, specifically by deepening democracy in the institutions responsible for global governance, when addressing matters concerning international peace. However, he comes to the conclusion that international governance (including the UNSC) still reminds more of an autocratic regime than of truly consultative democracy. The South still has no veto and the new global order could well be challenged by China which, according to Galtung, sees its international positioning within the UNSC as neither North nor

South, nor West or East. There has been no change to the negative incentives approach of the UNSC, consisting of embargoes and economic sanctions as precursors to military intervention. The current system still relies too heavily on a shaky consensus in terms of the latter forms of hard international governance;

UNSC consensus is top-heavy, is power exercised against the small, is a construct wherein the permanent members will protect themselves and their clients with a veto and is a consensus that is mostly used to advance specific geopolitical interests. However, the nature of conflicts is changing. They are not between member states, but between humans and non-human nature. Increasingly this would include conflict over resources such as oil, water, fertile land, living space, clean air. These ‘new’ conflicts also include gender conflict, generation conflict, race conflict, religious conflict, class conflict and intra-state nation conflict (Galtung,


The growing debate on the issue concerning the reform of the UNSC has, therefore, brought a number of obstacles to the fore. In addition to its Chapter VII mandates, the debate finds itself caught up in the issue of eligibility, not only in terms of the UN

Charter, but also in terms of the relevance of contributions related to sizeable contributions to the UN and its programmes, missions and management that

‘qualified’ other sizeable powers like Germany and Japan to step to the fore as some of the largest contributors to UN funding. Other middle powers have entered the debate and have argued that criteria should include measures like honest broking in international relations and that determinants should move away from power positions linked to economic might and the possession of a nuclear arsenal to include entrenchment of rules based democracy (Spies, 2008).

Japan and Germany declared their intentions to become permanent members of the UNSC in December 1992 following which the UNGA launched an open-ended

Working Group on Council Reform. Brazil and India joined the fray as dominant regional powers in their own right. The joint proposal on UNSC reform of these countries, known as the ‘G-4’, can be dissected into the following positions:

Brazil is arguing membership on the basis of its size and influence in South

America. India is the largest democracy in the world and the second-most populous country in the world. It is at the forefront of technological innovation and it is a nuclear power. Germany has changed dramatically since the end of WWII and, like


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Japan, is a member of the G7 group of wealthiest countries in the world. The latter two countries are also of the largest financial contributors to the UN. The G-4 has also included in their proposal one permanent seat for an African nation, therefore making it the so-called G-4 plus One Proposal. The UK and France also back this proposal (London, 2007). The G-4 position summarized thus is one that seeks six permanent members (two for Africa, two for Asia, one for Latin America and the

Caribbean and one for Western Europe and other states) and four non-permanent seats (one African, one Asian, one Eastern Europe and one Latin America and

Caribbean (Ronzitti, 2010).

Opponents of their bids formed the Uniting for Consensus Coalition (UfC) thus confirming the divergences within the international community. The UfC includes countries like Italy, Canada, Mexico, Turkey, South Korea, Pakistan, the

Netherlands, Spain, Argentina and China. The UfC countries primarily oppose the change of the core structure of the UNSC. Spain and Italy do not want to see

Germany gain a permanent seat. There has been discussion to exchange the potential German seat, and the current permanent UK and French seats for a unified EU seat, but it is doubtful that the UK and France would consider such a change, or that Germany would stop campaigning for its permanent seat. Latin

American countries oppose Brazil’s application on the basis that it is a Portuguese speaking nation and, therefore, not representative of the majority Spanish South

American countries (London, 2007).

The UfC, consisting of 40 countries, want to keep the P5 membership as it is and enlarge the non-permanent members of Council to twenty members, thereby adding

10 non-permanent members (London, 2007). Italy and Columbia have also proposed that an expansion only to the non-permanent member group should be considered, with longer term seats ( three to five years) allocated to regional groups on a rotating basis and regular non-permanent seats (two-year periods) to small and medium states. The UfC have since indicated that they would support the latter proposal (Ronzitti, 2010).

As regards regional representation, the League of Arab States (LAS) claims a permanent Arab representation in any UNSC enlargement; the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) has proposed adequate representation of major civilizations, including the Islamic Ummah. Italy and Portugal have stressed that the Lisbon Treaty should provide a basis for the interaction between the EU and the UNSC (Ronzitti, 2010). The African Union position will be outlined in the

There is another grouping, the Small Five (S-5) consisting of Costa Rica, Jordan,

Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Singapore who are not interested in Council enlargement. They believe reforming the Council’s working methods, revitalizing

the and strengthening the relationship between the UNSC and the UNGA would suffice and would make it more acceptable for some countries not to be part of the SC. A further complication is that there is also no unanimity on the question the veto (Ronzitti, 2010). In this regard, Jacqueline London argues that effectiveness should be a measure and that merely adding members to the UNSC could further hamstrung decision making in a Council that already finds it difficult to forge consensus and to implement its decisions (London, 2007).


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What are some of the views of the Permanent Five Members of the UNSC on reform of that institution, though?

Assistant Chinese Foreign Minister Wu Hailong said in a speech on 2 September

2011, that reform of the UNSC should be comprehensive in the sense that it should take the views of all parties into consideration; that China was in constant communication with the G-4 on reform of the Council; that it was not opposed to

India’s intention to join the UNSC as a permanent member, but that, due to historical reasons, it could not support Japan’s application as a permanent member of the UNSC; and, that the UN should continue to push for peaceful solutions to troublesome issues, remain committed to international cooperation on development while promoting social development and the progress of human rights (The

Economic Times, 2011). China is also in favour of increasing the number of UNSC members with priority for developing countries, especially African ones. However, in a statement on 6 October 2009 China did not specify the number of categories of new members and it was silent on the right to a veto (Ronzitti, 2010).

Russia, in a non-paper of 2 March 2010, stated that none of the current models for reform of the UNSC enjoys prevailing support in the UN. The G-4 proposal, however, seems to have the majority support in comparison to the other models to date (Ronzitti, 2010).

In acknowledgement to Russia’s position, the UK, France, Russia, Germany,

Liechtenstein and the Republic of Korea have taken the position that an intermediate solution, in order to bypass the stall in negotiations, should be considered. However, even in this framework, different proposals have been submitted (Ronzitti, 2010).

London (2007), in addition, describes US strategy for UN reform as a focus on organization-wide reform of the UN, rather than addressing reform of the UNSC in particular and in isolation. In London’s assessment this expresses the desire of the

US to make the UN more efficient, but also reflects a hesitancy to completely restructure the Security Council. London confirms the US wants seven areas of the

UN addressed as far as reform is concerned, without placing Security Council reform at the top of the agenda. These areas are: budget management and administration, Peace Building Commission, Human Rights Council, democracy initiatives and the UN Democracy Fund, Comprehensive Convention on Terrorism,

Development and UN Security Council Reform. The US position, importantly stipulates members must have good human rights and counter-terrorism records and reform must not remove any current P5 member, despite accusations of less than perfect records, as is the case with China for example. London states the US has indicated that it is open to reform of the UNSC and would consider an increase of two to three permanent members and two to three non-permanent members to the Council. It has also expressed the view that it would support an application by

Japan to join the Council as a permanent member” (London, 2007).

France and the UK support permanent seats for Brazil, Germany, India, Japan and representation for Africa (Ronzitti, 2010).

Notably, Africa remains the only bloc that has endorsed a common position on the enlargement of the UNSC, calling for two permanent seats for Africa and five non-


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permanent seats. This position is captured in the OAU’s 1997 Harare Declaration

(OAU, 1997).

The Work of the High Level Panel (HLP) on Threats, Challenges and Change initiated by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in this regard represents a

UN bureaucratic view on change to the UNSC.

Annan offered two possible models for the reform of the UNSC, following the work of the HLP:

Security Council reform: models A and B

Model A provides for six new permanent seats, with no veto being created, and three new two-year term non-permanent seats, divided among the major regional areas as follows:

Regional area




Pacific and



Europe 47

Americas 35






Totals model


191 5

Proposed new permanent Proposed two-year seats (nonseats renewable)


2 4 6













Model B provides for no new permanent seats but creates a new category of eight four-year renewable-term seats and one new two-year non-permanent (and non-renewable) seat, divided among the major regional areas as follows:

Regional area






Asia and







Totals model


191 5



1 renewable seats





8 renewable)












(Source: London, 2007)

The HLP report was followed by Annan’s report “In Larger Freedom – Towards

Development, Security and Human Rights for All”. In this report he noted the need for another key Council within the UN – a Human Rights Council – to be added as a seventh organ, joining the current six main organs namely UNSC, UNGA, ICJ,

ECOSOC, Trusteeship Council and Secretariat (Ronzitti, 2010). However, the

Human Rights Council that was founded subsequent to this report, was not established at the level of a main UN organ, as proposed by Annan, but was institutionalized in a subsidiary relationship to the UNGA.

In 2007, the President of the UNGA, Sheikha Al Khalifa, categorized the various areas of Security Council reform that warranted attention, under the following five issues: the size of an enlarged Council; categories of membership and regional representation; the veto; the amelioration of the Council’s working methods; and, the relationship between the UNSC and the UNGA (Ronzitti, 2010).


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In her critique of the Annan proposals, London argues that Plan A’s additional six permanent members, including one from Africa and one from an Arab country, might not receive support from the USA. Tension in increased numbers between veto and non-veto members might further add to indecision in the Council. She argues that Plan B might be a more acceptable model in terms of increasing the efficiency of the Council due to its proposed longer renewable terms might work against current common deadlock passivity of non-permanent members in the

UNSC in its current construct (London, 2007).

Turning the clock further back towards 1994, after which South African calls for change to the international system, including the UNSC, came strongly to the fore,

South African political leaders and commentators continuously and steadfastly made political and diplomatic statements in support of an overhaul of the international system. Chris Landsberg, in a 1995 article, refers to changes in the global order and an archaic UNSC that needs reform to its membership and its operative norms (Landsberg, 1995). More about this will follow in chapters three and four of this study.

The main conclusion, clearly expressed in the various and divergent views that have been expressed with regard to reform of the UNSC, is that one cannot look at

Security Council reform in isolation.

It is also clear that the international order is not yet fully described or predicted in terms of IR theory. Although there is clarity on its fundamentals, in terms of the theories referred to in this chapter, there is uncertainty as to where it is headed in terms of the one constant that the international governance domain is confronted with, namely that its time and place in history remains fluid and subject to change.

The forces of change confronting the international system are not only a result of historical imperatives and of deliberate human action in forging its structures, its values, its norms, its legal constraints and its culture and behaviour, but are also directed through diplomacy. There is enough evidence that the international community and its diplomacy recognize the imperatives for reform to its systems.

The international relations environment and its structures remain divisive in nature and void of a complete global consensus. This is evident from the various positions and recommendations that form part of the current debate on UNSC reform. Taking into consideration the international divisions and the international distribution of power the debate on reform of the UNSC remains muddled in controversy.

Not only the debate on reform of the UNSC in particular, or the debate on global governance in general, but also the structures and behaviour of the international system remain locked into the inevitability of its historicism, the perspectives of divergent world views and the rent that human nature pays to power and inconsiderate exploitation of themselves and their inhabitable space to the exclusion of due consideration of future consequences. Nevertheless, reflection on the underlying realities is necessary in order to understand and address inhuman and inconsiderate behaviour. The latter, has, after all brought about theorising on


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and implicating a unified and more civil and considerate international humanity, including the rules and values for such a humanity. This has not only steadily forged a more holistic approach to international structures and conduct, but has increasingly demanded international conversion to equal freedoms and rights. And yet, the world and its humanity remain exposed, sometimes seemingly helplessly so, to a contested and controversial past, an uncertain present and an unpredictable future, though most of it is of its own making.

Whether a consensus in this regard would be forged remains elusive; whether proactive reform of the UNSC and global governance systems would lead to a more integrated and equitable international environment remains questionable although there seems to be an inevitability in this sense; whether history should repeat past horrors and whether emerging global existential challenges must first force calamity before change and reform, remain to be seen; whether humankind’s ingenuity would again provide salvation from ultimate disaster would maintain its hope, still exists.

African positions, as will be seen in the subsequent chapter, also find themselves rooted in the African international historical experience, but it takes cognisance of

African philosophy and ideas and perspectives – including Ubuntu – largely in attempts to forge a more integrated human existence and holistic view on humankind and its behaviour. A belief that “I am because you are” can be traced in the writings and ideas and diplomacy of Africans, but probably also carry in itself the same shortfalls in its expression through human conduct that one would find with the application and interpretation of other philosophies and world views, including the dilemmas linked to the application of consistency in human rights. African – and

South African – diplomacy in this sense might thus find itself not to be exclusively different, but integral to a reflection on the nature and the form of international relations systems.

Africa and South Africa thus form an integral part of this international recognition of the imperatives for change in the manner in which global governance should be conducted and managed. African ideas on global governance and the manner in which regional integration and the relationships with the UN, as well as reform within the UN, come to be considered need to be placed in perspective and need to be understood in its contribution to the debate on managing current global international fluidity and reform within UN structures.

The Ezulwini Consensus (AU, 2005) to the date of this writing still forms the basis of

Africa’s position on the reform of the UNSC and of international governance in general.

The various positions, those of individual super powers, such as that of the US and of other P-5 member countries, those of international groupings, such as those of the S-5, the LAS and OIC, the G-4 and G-4 plus One, as well as the UN bureaucratic positions have added to the debate on reform of the UNSC, but have not brought the globe closer to a unified solution. Africa and South Africa have in their own right contributed to this debate and continue to do so. They continue to search, through their diplomacy, for means to improve global governance and forge consensus on the character and characteristics of global institutions. The following chapter will take a closer look at Africa and its contributions and deliberations.


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Before considering Africa’s contribution to debate on UNSC reform, Africa needs to be put into international perspective, which is, it has to be put into historic


It has been said that a mufti from the West African city of Bobo-Dyulasso, recalling the fall of the Ummayad Chaliphate, said that any attempt to bring together the events of the last thousand years would be like trying to trap wind in a sieve due to the fact that the conqueror usually spent much energy on destroying the conquered.

Nothing was spared in distinguishing the flame of rivals. Since Africa even then was a severely divided continent, these practices were at the order of the day. In other words, much remained to be discovered and much remained to be agreed.

In Africa, much has been lost and much has been destroyed, particularly through selfish power and disagreement that have lead to devastating conflict. Much has also been lost, destroyed and has been a source for conflict, particularly due to the wars and human displacement that have followed the opening up of Africa to ever political colonization. Africa also got caught up in the inevitability of war and conflict linked to trade, contested space, land and resources and it became what seems to be a permanent feature of the African economic, social and political landscape.

The conflict inherent to internationalization and globalization has exposed Africa to exploitation, but has also contributed to resistance and to participation in global governance, both as client and as sponsor.

Furthermore, the imposition of a European system of states did not provide the intended balance of power and stability, but has left in Africa yet another layer of though, this might have been contributing, as much as movements calling for Pan-

Africanism have, to a remarkable pace of integration on the African continent, particularly since the OAU became the AU. In the midst of sweeping has thus been exposed to the crises that go hand in hand with change. Africa today still finds itself at the centre of globalization and the challenges presented to international governance. African crises dominate the UN conflict and peace agenda; Africa as a continent is still a focal point in the global race for resources;

Africa is a frontier in the global fight against poverty and disease, environmental degradation and global inequity and as such also finds itself in the midst of the global debate on reform of the uppermost international peace and security

Africa, as mentioned, remains high on the UNSC agenda, particularly its peace and security agenda. On the basis of this alone, a larger African input at all levels of the

UN carries a certain claim to calls for reform of the UNSC and other international governance structures. In 2011 in UNSC meetings dealing with country-


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68%3 of the meetings in that category, followed by the Middle East at 15%, Asia at

7%, Europe at 7% and the Americas at 3% (UN, 2012b).

The following sections will discuss contemporary African thought and contribution to

IR against the background of Africa’s worldview, African consensus on reform of the

UNSC, competition as pertains to African contenders for a permanent seat in the

UNSC and continental schisms hampering unity and progress.

The section dealing with African thought on IR will briefly look at the African world view in relation to its environment and humankind’s place and role existentially as well as touch upon the African world view’s convergence with and divergence from selected other IR world views.

The section dealing with Africa consensus on reform will more closely unpack the evolvement of an African consensus on UNSC reform that culminated in the currently accepted Ezulwini Consensus on Reform of the UNSC, against the background of the development of African unity and integration through the OAU and the AU.

The last section of this chapter will refer to and discuss the existing and potential differences and weaknesses of the perceived African consensus on UNSC reform in relation to the continuing international debate on international governance reform.

3.2 Contemporary African thought and the Structure of Global Political


Betsie Smith, in her article “Worldview and Culture: Leadership in Sub-Sahara

Africa” concludes that Africans see the universe as a religious oneness; that the

Creator, or God, can be approached by various means, such as through prayer and sacrifice and ritual. She quotes Nelson Mandela as having said that traditional religion is characterized by a cosmic wholeness, so that there is little difference between what is sacred and what is secular, and between what is natural and what is super-natural. She quotes Erich Leistner and philosopher John Mbiti arguing that

Africans do not sense time in an abstract and mathematical manner, but rather regards the present as eternal. This inevitably postulates a different understanding of the concept of the future (Smith, 2003).

Despite a modern African elite’s Western and Eastern (mainly communist in this instance) education, Africa has experienced fundamental challenges to its world view during the course of colonialism, WWI and WWII, the Cold War and during the decades since independence. These challenges have mainly come from the increasing individualistic, materialistic and scientific world that we live in. African leaders and societies are particularly challenged in bridging and recognizing the divides that exist between the modern and the traditional. This does not beg a different assessment of Africa’s contributions to IR and IR theories, though its measure might differ, but underscores, yet again, that the world is replete with cultural, religious and philosophical diversity, all of which influence the structure of communal interaction and the perceptions and world view of individuals and of societies (Smith, 2003).


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dehumanizes me” (Smith, 2003). unanimity, or not at all (Smith, 2003). of communalism as its enduring characteristic.

But in all this, the individual is not the important factor; the community is the custodian of life. To this effect ‘Ubuntu’ probably comprises the most descriptive of this characteristic that represents the African worldview in general. Smith quotes former Archbishop and Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu as follows in this regard: “My humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in yours. We belong in a bundle of life. . . . It is not ‘I think therefore I am.’ It says rather: ‘I am human because I belong. I participate, I share. . . .’ What dehumanizes you inexorably

This does not, however, eliminate the leverage of influence and the rivalry that leadership inevitably would produce, [also in the international arena].

A further features strongly in African society and which means that meetings end in

Consensus-making thus should be expected when viewed against this background and would form an integral part to an African approach to finding solutions. In this regard, the concept of ‘Ubuntu’ in its relationship with ‘Holism’ reflects the aspects

Less so is the evolutionary concept of ‘Holism’ as described by Jan Smuts – an

African of Afrikaner descent, who wrote on Holism and Evolution – who sees the ideal of ‘Holism’ as a ‘personology’, as a future state of human freedom [not a present, eternal state of humanity as prescribed by the African world view described by Smith above] where the individual will be at peace with him or herself and therefore at peace with every fellow human being (Beukes 1989:11); thus evolving this personal relationship to the larger communal and ultimately the international means to measure peaceful interaction and co-existence. In terms of the universality of ‘Holism’ Smuts saw this worldview as a synthesis between faith and reason, between science and religion (Beukes, 1989: 12). Yet, the most fatal of flaws in the thinking of Smuts was the exclusion of the rest of South Africa’s

African citizens from the concept of South Africanism and the particular brand of nationalism that developed in South Africa (Beukes, 1989: 64-72). The fallible human condition, as is the case with the human construction of the IR environment thus shined through in Smuts as well, despite the fact that this personal history would take him into the presence of men and future tumultuous events where he the Commonwealth, the League of Nations and the United Nations (Beukes, 1989:

85). These constructs were put in place in order to map out peaceful means of coordinating international relations and to provide security in the broadest terms when the danger exists for the bedrock of peace to be chipped away by old

European policies of grab and greed and partitions (Lentin, 2010: 152). These characteristics are still to be found as remnants in the wider IR environment of international governance and the international political economy.

In terms of IR and IR practice, taking into account the characteristics of the above should form an integral part to approaching discourse and forging solution within the

IR environment. But what must be understood and recognized, is that power and the abuse of power, in all its concepts, remains a durable influence in the conduct of people in general and of leaders in particular, including the people and leaders of



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For the specific purpose of this study, and this chapter, it is, however, necessary to return to additional Africa contributions to IR and the reform of the UNSC. The following brief historical overview of the establishment of the OAU, directly linked to

Africa’s search for international recognition and acknowledged African input to

The Pan-Africanism that has formed the corner stone of African unity had its roots in the work of West Indian Lawyer Sylvester Stone who organised the first African conference in London in 1900. The movement was revived after WWI by African

American historian and Marxist W.E.B du Bois. The Pan-African Movement, in essence, could thus be described as an international movement, and crosscontinental, at least in its infancy and in a sense, ironically, established by the children of slaves. Slavery and its offspring thus provided the foundations for Pan-

Africanism and by implication also the seeding bed for what today is known as the

AU. Including in the objectives of Pan-Africanism is the seeking to revive the

African mystique of unity and brotherhood that could be interpreted as the traditional African quality of compassion (Said, 1968: 109–111).

and rising African leaders and was soon dominated by the likes of future African leaders, such as Jomo Kenyatta (Kenya), Kwame Nkrumah (Ghana), Nnamdi

Azikiwe (Nigeria) and Wallace Johnson of Sierra Leone. Through these leading personalities the ideas of African Unity were kept alive and as the independence of

African territories expanded, the first conference of African States was held in Accra in April 1958. It was attended by representatives of the eight countries then governing themselves, namely Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia. In addition to their broad agreement on the principles and aims of

African Unity, they pledged themselves to the liberation of the rest of Africa.

They differed on methods of achieving African unity, though, and at the next conference, held in Addis Ababa in June 1960, two factions emerged within the group now totalling 15 countries: the ‘moderates and the ‘radicals”. The

’moderates’, lead by Nigeria, advocated a phased, pragmatic, step-by-step integration, beginning with coordination in the fields of foreign affairs, health, education and economic development. Both groups, however, agreed on nonalignment believing that it would serve a single African voice internationally. The

Algeria, Morocco and Libya, proposing an organic integration of Africa under a

Continental Government, split from the rest and held their own conference in

Casablanca in January 1961. This Casablanca group, although not calling for a political union of Africa, did agree on the establishment of an African Consultative

Assembly (as soon as conditions permit) and a Joint High Command. As a further manifestation of division, Mali, Guinea and Ghana trilaterally decided to form a union. The latter, however, never transpired. Twenty Heads of Government met in

Monrovia, Liberia, in May 1961 – subsequently to be known as the Monrovia group

– in a summit aimed at breaking the deadlock. Six of the seven Casablanca group boycotted the event, including Guinea and Mali, who actually co-sponsored the summit. In the meantime twelve French-speaking states, most of them members of the Monrovia group, formed the African and Malagasy Union (UAM).

Nevertheless, the Monrovia summit defined African unity not as the political integration of sovereign states, but as a unity of aspiration and action from the point of view of African solidarity and political identity. The next attempt at African unity,


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acceptable to all (excluding South Africa) was made at Lagos in January 1962.

The Casablanca group again boycotted the event because the Algeria government in exile had not been invited. The Lagos conference adopted a charter for a proposed African Unity Organization, but refrained from setting it up in order to allow absentees to join as founder members at a later meeting. In May 1963, another conference, under Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, held in Addis Ababa and attended by 30 African countries and with additional support from Togo and

Morocco achieved, what was deemed impossible at the time – the establishment of an association of all independent states in Africa, thereby providing structure to the wish to strive for unity through compromise (Taylor 1967: 11–13).

The charter for the OAU incorporated the five Monrovia principles, i.e. absolute equality of all states, non-interference in internal affairs, respect for sovereignty, condemnation of subversive action by neighbouring states and the promotion of cooperation based on tolerance. It pledged non-alignment with power blocks and cooperation within the fields of economic development, education, health, communications, internal security and defence. Importantly, particularly for the purpose of this study, were the provisions made for dealing with relations between member states and in the realm of foreign affairs and diplomacy. In these instances, the OAU established a Commission of Mediation, Conciliation and

Arbitration to which member states pledged to submit their disputes; not to be the United Nations with a view to taking a joint stand on both African and world issues, such as support for the downfall of racist regimes. Nkrumah’s ideals to establish a Union Government also came to nothing at the time (Taylor, 1967: 13–


However, as is the destiny of ideas, the OAU meetings, as was the case in the UN fell foul to disputes and splits over disputes, suffered angry walk outs, boycotts of attendance, and continued to experience expressed disappointment at aspects of the organization. Disunity, leadership ambitions and interests of African and other international states and role players have disappointingly undermined the Monrovia principles. Yet, African states continued to give it their support (Taylor, 1967: 15).

One could, furthermore, argue that Nkrumah’s idea, namely to establish a Union

Government for Africa, is still a ideal in the making and would eventually be shaped through evolving African Union structures.

As will be shown in the next chapter, South African post-1994 diplomacy, has taken a number of initiatives as a continuance of the latter. Similarly South African diplomatic leadership, where it can be identified as such, as African diplomacy in the vein of the African world view, is in fact also a continuance of the leadership that had already been provided by other African thinkers and leaders in the pre-

Martinique-born and Algerian naturalised Frantz Fanon – a principle activist in the

Algerian Liberation Front called for a complete overhaul of the old system of relations between nations to conform to the dictum of the last shall be first in a renewed African communalism (Said, 1968: 49–53).

Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of Ghana, believed ideology (including the nature, characteristics and construct of the international milieu) rises from the


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social milieu; Africa should, therefore, progress from communalism to socialism; that [international] man could return to equilibrium through the harmonising effects of traditional African values of communal concern; that these African humanist traditions would lead to a Pan-Africanism and freedom from neo-colonialism (Said,

Gamal Abdel Nasser agreed with Nkrumah’s ideology and he saw Western democracy as a vehicle of capitalist expansion. He, for example, claimed a larger role for Egypt though in fulfilling its historical destiny, namely Egypt’s Triple Sphere

Link to the outside world, i.e. the Arab circle, the African circle and the Islamic circle

(Said, 1968: 55-57). The latter worldview of Egypt is relevant, even today, when considering Egypt’s internal revolution and reform associated with the Arab Spring and its role in the regional political configuration known as the Arab League which has been serving pertinent interests in both the UNSC and other regional powers’ interests in the currently continued conflict in Syria and the international community’s search for a peaceful solution to this specific conflict and the broader international schisms that influence the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP). It remains to be seen how Egypt’s future position – considering its world view and the fact that it is an African contender for a permanent seat in an expanded future

UNSC – against the background of what seems to be a growing schism even in

Africa along the lines of Islamic versus Christian and other value systems, would contribute to continued African consensus on reform of the UNSC.

Pan-Africanism, however, is a state of mind, not a state of affairs (Said, 1968: 125) and it remains doubtful, as a result, that Africa could thus develop a consistent and common response to challenges in the international system.

The ideal of a United States of Africa continues to exist and is indeed moving together with changes to IR. What was known as the Organization of African Unity is now called the African Union. “It is just a matter of time before we see a United

States of Africa (‘USA’) in our lifetime. At least that is what Pan-Africanists envision”

(Chachage, 2009). Within these claims, however, is also to be found the divisions that are still evident in the search for African Unity and African views on the international community. History shows that it was Julius Nyerere – an acknowledged African statesman – who frustrated Nkrumah when he “cunningly pushed through a resolution which urged the OAU to accept the colonial borders as permanent, recognized frontiers of the OAU member states”. Nyerere indeed admitted in 1992 and 1997 that he was responsible for moving that resolution which was carried by a simple majority at the 1964 OAU Summit in Cairo with two reservations: Morocco and Somalia (Chachage, 2009). Julius Nyerere was quoted in an interview in 1992 as saying that “My differences with Kwame were that

Kwame thought there was somehow a shortcut, and I was saying that there was no shortcut. This is what we have inherited, and we’ll have to proceed within the limitations that that inheritance has imposed upon us” (Chachage, 2009). Nyerere thus confirmed the view of the inevitability of African historicism and the settlement of free African states that even Nyerere had to admit that “the OAU had become no more than an African trade union of Heads of States“ (Chachage, 2009). These

two of African political thinking thus parted ways on the fundamental aspects of African Unity and Africa’s contribution to global governance. Their differences brought to the fore a schism that even today echoes through Africa, namely that the true ideal of a united Africa has been and is continued to be undermined by the balkanization o f Africa. This false echo of African unity came


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about as a result of Nyerere’s, together with the support of leaders such as Haile

Selassie, convincing of the OAU to accept the permanence of colonial borders in

Africa, thus undermining unity and promoting the interests of powerful people who seek the permanent balkanization of Africa through their vested interests

(Chachage, 2009). The latter constructed reality entrenches a continued super influence of powerful global states on the affairs of Africa.

In an increasingly globalised and integrated world, the way forward suggests greater African unity. Traditionally that would serve as a response to the West.

However, in the current changing international environment, forging an African identity (without reverting to an African racism or an African exclusivity) would also mean assessing potential neo-colonialism.

Apart from the fact that Africa also suffered the consequences of bipolar ideological solidarity of the Cold War, the establishment of a system of states and nationalism in the wake of colonialism, considering the above African thinking and value systems, it is no surprise then that it is largely the ideas of communism and socialism that have found resonance in contemporary Africa. These ideas, as a result of the end of the Cold War have come under pressure to adapt as well and just as the international environment is facing constant pressure to change, Africa’s contribution to that change is linked to change in Africa as well. In this instance it could be argued that Africa’s colonial system of states, more particularly its borders, could well change in the future.

Should such changes to borders forge stronger states producing less of the type of conflict that Africa constantly faces, namely ethnic, factional and resource conflict, a stronger and more unified Africa could be the result, thus increasing Africa’s influence on international governance systems. The latter is not far-fetched. The creation of South Sudan has set an African and international legal post-colonial precedence and might yet find expression elsewhere in Africa in similar fashion.

Africa would, as the rest of the international community and its states, have to continue to diplomatically interact with the remnants of the historic influences and continuing interests of these entities on the African continent. This is still evident in the colonial remnants still evident in certain conflicts in Africa and the continued scramble for African resources and global competition in economic trade and investment alliances that are being contracted in Africa. These interests are ultimately also aligned to favouring positions that African states would take on the debate that addresses reform of the UNSC.

It must be remembered, furthermore, that Africa was largely excluded from the founding meetings of the UN and its Security Council. Only Egypt and the then

Union of South Africa, Liberia and Ethiopia are regarded founding members from

Africa. In 1965 the UNSC was expanded, in part to reflect the increase in state membership of the UN and African decolonization. Today, Africa commands a major part of the conflict and peace agenda of the UNSC. African consensus on the work and reform of the UNSC should thus be considered central to the international debate on reform of the Council.


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3.3 Development of a Common African Position on UNSC reform

The African position on the reform of the UNSC must, therefore, be viewed in terms of the establishment and the evolution of the OAU and the AU. In assessing

Africa’s continued contribution to international governance, it seems as if the transformation of the OAU to the AU (a step closer to Nkrumah’s idea of a united

Africa) provided an impetus to Africa’s resolve in addressing the behaviour and structures of international governance systems. It has become more assertive internationally in its non-alignment, or African nature, it might be argued.

The Ezulwini Consensus of 2005 could then be described as the latest example of this assertiveness. As was the case with the establishment of the OAU – against all odds and expectations of the international community, due to African diversity and divides on positions and opinion – the Ezulwini Consensus yet again confounded, in the sense that it represents an African and continental consensus on reform of the

UNSC. No other consensus re UNSC reform, on a continental scale, currently exists anywhere else. Perhaps, in this instance, as was the case with the foundation of the OAU, Africa’s historicism provided the urgency and the impetus to its leaders to forge consensus on a matter that has had a profound influence on

Africa’s history. What also needs to be noted is that the Ezulwini Consensus not only speaks to reform of the UNSC, but addresses global governance at large.

In summary, as confirmation of the above, the AU adopted the following as regards a common African position on the question of UNSC reform:

1. Africa’s goal is to be fully represented in all the decision-making organs of the UN, particularly in the Security Council, which is the principal decisionmaking organ of the UN in matters relating to international peace and security.

2. Full representation of Africa in the Security Council means: i. not less than two permanent seats with all the prerogatives and privileges of permanent membership including the right of veto; ii. five non-permanent seats.

3. In that regard, even though Africa is opposed in principle to the veto, it is of the view that so long as it exists, and as a matter of common justice, it should be made available to all permanent members of the Security Council.

4. The African Union should be responsible for the selection of Africa’s representatives in the Security Council.

5. The question of the criteria for the selection of African members of the

Security Council should be a matter for the AU to determine, taking into consideration the representative nature and capacity of those chosen.

(African Union Executive Council, 7 th

Extraordinary Session, 7 – 8 March 2005)

The following extracts from the African Union Executive Council’s 7 addressed by the Ezulwini Consensus, i.e. address UNSC reform not in isolation, but within a global context as follows: th


Session of 7 and 8 March 2005 summarize the global governance issues


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The AU supports the implementation of its resolutions within the framework of multilateralism, as a tool for eradicating poverty, boosting economic growth, promoting sustainable development, alleviating the debt problem, enhancing Africa’s participation in WTO negotiations and combating

HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases. On internal and state conflict the

AU calls for the AU Commission to study the recommendation on developing norms governing management of natural resources for countries emerging from or at risk of conflict. The African Union and the United Nations should collaborate closely to implement the Lomé and Algiers Declarations on

Unconstitutional Changes of Governments.

On the question of the

Consensus that Sanctions should be considered only after all means of peaceful settlement of disputes under Chapter VI of the United Nations

Charter have been exhausted and a thorough consideration undertaken of the short-term and long-term effects of such sanctions. Further, sanctions should be imposed for a specified time-frame and be based on tenable legal grounds and should be lifted as soon as the objectives are achieved.

Sanctions should also be smart and targeted to mitigate their humanitarian effects. In this regard, there is need for the UN to define the objectives and guidelines for the imposition of sanctions.

On the question of collective security and the use of force, the Ezulwini Consensus contend that since the

General Assembly and the Security Council are often far from the scenes of conflicts and may not be in a position to undertake effectively a proper appreciation of the nature and development of conflict situations, it is imperative that Regional Organizations, in areas of proximity to conflicts, are empowered to take actions in this regard. The African Union agrees with the

Panel that the intervention of Regional Organisations should be with the approval of the Security Council; although in certain situations, such approval could be granted “after the fact” in circumstances requiring urgent action. In such cases, the UN should assume responsibility for financing such operations. It also addresses the matter of international financing of regional organisations and an African Standby Force for the purposes of peace keeping. It speaks extensively to the challenges posed by post-conflict peace building. In this regard it holds that it is important to speed up the proposed establishment of a Peace Building Commission. It is also necessary to not be placed under the authority of the Security Council as it is important for it to benefit from the contributions of all the major organs, particularly, the

General Assembly, the Security Council and ECOSOC. In this regard, a

Trust Fund should be established to ensure its sustainability. The focus on peace building must also stress the element of conflict prevention. There is need to promote closer cooperation and coordination between the General

Assembly, the Security Council, ECOSOC, the major Funds and

Programmes, the UN Specialised Agencies, the Breton Woods Institutions, the Member States and the Regional Organisations throughout the cycle of the conflict. This would guarantee a harmonious transition from conflict management to long-term reconstruction until the danger of instability or the threat of resumption of the conflict has diminished. As part of the support of the international community to peace building in post-conflict countries in

Africa, there is need for the Breton Woods institutions, in particular, to show in macro-economic reforms that have a potential for


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social upheaval. This underlines the necessity for the Breton Woods institutions, which are part of the United Nations system, to become more accountable, democratic and transparent in their structure so that their operation will enjoy the full confidence of the entire world community. It is important to lay down clear rules for the deployment of UN peacekeeping operations to avoid arbitrary use of the right of veto that may delay or obstruct such deployment when the need for deploying peacekeeping forces arises. It, furthermore, addresses structural reform of the UN. It calls for a strengthening of the GA as parliament of the world; it calls for expansion of the Secretariat and fro those additional posts to be filed by Africans; it calls for ECOSOC to be more pro-active and involved in practical solutions to the need to link development and security; it recommends that the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) should report to the GA and not the UNSC, except in cases where recommendations are made as regards genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity and that it must pay equal attention to economic, social and cultural rights as, it does to civil and political rights.


African Union Executive Council, 7 th

Extraordinary Session, 7 – 8 March 2005)

The relevance of the above decisions of the AU Executive Council should be measured at three levels, namely, the international and the regional African levels as well as the national level with the latter to be measured at the South African national level.

At the international and African regional levels it is important, despite the shortfalls both in structure and behaviour of AU members, to view Africa’s claims and qualifications expressed in its ambitions to acquire permanent UNSC membership against the background of two important expressed provisions within the AU

Constitutive Act. Unlike the OAU Charter, which did not stipulate the possibility for the OAU to take punitive actions against recalcitrant members, the AU Constitutive

Act prescribes such action. These actions might include sanctions and disbarment from AU proceedings and AU denial of activities and commitments extended by the

AU. The other is the accepted intention of the drafters of the AU Constitutive Act to commit to democratic institutions and principles and establish a Pan African

Parliament which is expected to evolve into a fully-fledged legislative body

(Magliveras and Naldi, 2009: 141-177).

Furthermore, as legal assessment of the reform of the UNSC, although this is not this study’s purpose, it should be mentioned that just as much as an African perspective on the judicial obligations of the UNSC under the UN Charter and in terms of international law would have a bearing on the debate on reform of the

UNSC, an African perspective on the kind of International Criminal Court (ICC) that

Africa wants, considering that international criminal justice is subject to the uneven and imbalanced landscape of global politics, an African consensus on the ICC and its role in IR would be as important as its consensus on reform of the UNSC. There seems to be a perception that there is a growing resistance against the ICC in

Africa. A study undertaken by the Institute for Security Studies, presented at a

Symposium held in November 2009, has however come to the conclusion that the latter is not the case as far as the general trend is concerned and that 30 African states have already ratified their membership to the ICC (Du Plessis and Louw,

2010). What is in addition required of Africans and the AU is the strengthening of and entrenchment of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights.


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An African consensus on African peace and security matters, it must be said, is in fact structurally reflected in members addressing the structural performance of organs of the AU in the execution of their mandates.

The AU Peace and Security Council, established in 2001, has consistently met and during 2011, for example, pronounced on conflicts in Somalia, Egypt, Libya,

Côte D’Ivoire, Tunisia and Sudan, and on the state of African peace and security in general. On 26 April 2011, the AU Ministerial Meeting on Peace and Security declared both a recommitment to the strengthening of AU instruments dealing with peace and security and highlighted some persisting shortfalls and inhibitors of

African success in this arena. Member states were urged to ratify all AU instruments on democracy and governance, still an AU weakness since there are outstanding signatures. The Ministerial Meeting also recognized the shortfalls in political and economic governance in areas of conflict – an affirmation of the impediments of weak democratic states and again highlighted the need to find additional resources – increasingly so from resources within the continent – in order to prevent weak and inefficient implementation of AU programmes, as part of Declaration on AU/Regional Mechanisms for Conflict Prevention

Management and Resolution Roadmap, adopted in Zanzibar, in November 2010.

The Ministers confirmed that there was a persistent over reliance on external resources creating difficulties in promoting African solutions to African problems.

(Within this context the latter should be seen as a continuation of post colonial friction and persistent imbalance in international governance). Finally, in order to enhance the continent’s ownership of the efforts to implement the AU peace and security agenda, they requested the AU Commission to revive the Conference on

Security, Stability, Development and Cooperation in Africa (CSSDCA) adopted in

Togo in 2000 (AU, 2011).

At the international and regional African levels, as far as UNSC membership is concerned, the Ezulwini Consensus was the result of an African debate on chiefly two models (Models A and B) for the reform of the UNSC, proposed during the

2005 World Summit for the reform of the UNSC, by then UN Secretary-General Kofi


The two models (as already briefly referred to in the previous chapter) had very specific implications from an African perspective: Model A calls for an expansion of the UNSC with an additional two permanent seats (without veto) and three new two year non-permanent seats, with Africa having four two-year non-permanent seats as well as two non-veto permanent seats. The implication of course is that the balance of power would still be in favour of the current P5 members and Africa would still be the continent without a veto. Model B provides for no new permanent seats but creates a new category of eight four-year renewable term seats and one new two-year non-permanent and non-renewable terms seat. All regions would get two four-year renewable term seats. Although Africa would get most of the two-year non-renewable seats, all regions would have at least one member with veto power, except for Africa. Although there is African resistance against the veto, the powerless position Africa would be left in should any of these models ever be excepted, must have contributed to the AU rejecting these propositions demanding at least two Africa seats with veto powers and demanding the right to select its own representatives to the UNSC and set up its own selection criteria for African members of the UNSC. Wafula Okumu in this


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regard argues that the latter AU demand seems to overlook proposed UN selection criteria in favour of African criteria. The Ezulwini Consensus, however, has not defined such criteria but merely says they would be based on the representative nature and capacity of those chosen. African candidates put forward as possible permanent UNSC members can, however, be measured against selection criteria put forward for members of UNSC permanent seats (Okumu, 2005).

In terms of the promotion of peace, security and stability in Africa, South Africa,

Kenya, Senegal and Nigeria have played a significant role in maintaining peace and security in their regions. South Africa has extensively contributed to peace keeping and peace-making, also in conflicts in Burundi, the DRC, Côte D’Ivoire,

Madagascar and Sudan. Nigeria played a pertinent role in Sierra Leone and in

Liberia, Sao Tome et Principe and in Darfur. Kenya pertinently placed attention on its role in the Sudan and in Somalia as qualifying considerations for a permanent

UNSC seat (Okumu, 2005).

As democratic role models Senegal sells itself as a model for religious tolerance.

Nigeria is the most populous democracy in Africa, however, size and population should not be the measure against which membership should be judged, but should be chosen as an African country first seeking to promote the interests of the whole continent equally. Nigeria has, however, played leading roles in the promotion of Pan-African


ideals in CSSDCA, NEPAD and the AU (Okumu,


Egypt had a very strong Pan-African orientation during the rule of Gamal Nasser, but since then, and especially under the rule of (now deposed) Hosni Mubarak, the country came to give more attention to Middle Eastern matters (two of the spheres of Egypt’s historical imperatives, as Nasser formulated it, namely the Islamic and

Middle East Spheres) and less to the other, the Africa Sphere. It had been sarcastically argued that if it were not for Egypt’s interests in a permanent seat in the UNSC, Hosni Mubarak would not have attended any AU meeting (Okumu,


As far as qualifying criteria to join the UNSC as a permanent member is concerned, Okumu has added financial capability as criterion and argues that in order to match the enormous resources of the current P5, both financially and in terms of expertise, this capability should be regarded as very important. As far as financial contributions to the UN are concerned, only South Africa has consistently paid its contributions on time (Okumu, 2005). first country to disband its nuclear arsenal and has thus far completed two sessions as non-permanent member of the UNSC in quick succession.

In any event, on this score both Egypt and another contender, Libya, find themselves in democratic transitions following the political outcomes in those countries of the so-called Arab Spring. The jury is still out on the state of their


In terms of these criteria, one could argue that South Africa seems to be the favourite candidate, at this stage even when considering contributing factors that might influence these aforementioned capabilities, such as frail democracy and


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corruption for example (Okumu, 2005). South Africa’s contribution to peace and security in Africa, apart from its growing investment and trade and economic and technical aid involvement in Africa is, furthermore, being extended to include humanitarian aid, such as its donations of maize, bio-pesticides animal feed and livestock vaccines to Niger, announced on 7 September 2012 (South Africa


Schisms in the African approach to UNSC reform

The AU has thus far not identified its anointed members for its proposed two permanent seats with a veto for Africa i n a reformed UNSC. It has, furthermore, not identified the criteria that would be used to identify qualified candidates and how consensus would be forged on determining the candidates for these posts. The that concern the UN, the UNSC and international governance would form an additional and important international networking consideration when any of the

African contenders position themselves to their advantage for a permanent seat in a

Jonathan Maseng is clearly of the view that power struggles within and outside

Africa on the process of inclusion of African nations in the UNSC would have potentially dire consequences for continental unity (Maseng, 2013).

Maseng contends that continental unity in this regard would probably be threatened by the divergent interests of dominant states on the African continent.

Referring to South Africa and Nigeria in particular he argues that continental unity would suffer due to these states’ disagreement on a number of continental issues as well as bilateral competition and tensions. As examples he mentions South

African and Nigerian differences on Côte D’Ivoire and South Africa’s opposition to

Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) plans with regard to peace broking in the latter state. They also disagreed on the Libyan Transitional

National Council (TNC). Whereas Nigeria supported the TNC as Libya’s interim government, South Africa lobbied for and wanted an inclusive transitional government arrangement for Libya. Maseng also cites criticism by South African diplomats of Nigeria’s perceived obstruction of South Africa’s candidate being elected to the AU Commission chair. As such, Maseng argues these two countries would pursue an approach that would reflect national interests rather than seeking continental consensus. Apart from national interests of states vying for attention, there is a rift that also exists at regional level in Africa between South Africa, Egypt and Francophone states. The latter rift was evident in Gabon’s opposition to South

Africa taking the AU Commission Chair. Nigeria, due to its dominant ECOWAS position would most certainly look at ECOWAS countries, mostly falling within the

Francophone region, for support of a UNSC seat. On the other hand, strong support for Nigeria in ECOWAS and SADC support for South Africa might well leave South Africa and Nigeria as main contenders for the two Africa seats in the UNSC should Ezulwini as an African proposal eventually carry the day. At the international level, it might be that Nigeria could favour support from the US due to its oil reserves and the leading role it plays in African peace-keeping


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Egypt, as a Middle East and North African (MENA) country candidate for permanent

UNSC membership, is an important consideration. However, although the

MENA is an important region in terms of the international security arena and carries weight due to its prominence in world oil reserves, Egypt is currently hamstrung by unfavourable internal dynamics linked to the political vacuum that has been created by the Arab Spring in that country.

According to Okumu (2005) Nigeria might also be angling towards China and

Russia, and Egypt might continue to align itself to America. Senegal seems to be strongly aligned to France. The outcome of the Arab Spring in Egypt, having put the Muslim Brotherhood in charge – although this democratically elected outcome has since been challenged by the unconstitutional change of government in Egypt, as identified by the AU, and which has led to the suspension of Egypt’s AU membership (AU, 2013) - could be suggesting otherwise in the medium to long term though and the US might still have to convince itself to forge a new strategic relationship with Islam in that region. Initial indications, at the time of this writing are that the US would prefer to support the democratization process in Egypt evident from US reaction stating that it was concerned about the situation in Egypt and calling on the Egyptian military to quickly return authority to a democratically elected civilian government through an inclusive and transparent process, also at the same time, suggesting that IMF and US financial aid might be suspended

(Binnie, 2013). This is unlikely in the short term, due to US regional interests and its strategically linked USD1.2 billion annual aid support to Egypt, largely tied to its own and Egypt’s military complexes. And Libya? At the time of this writing, Libya is still finding itself in a fragile democratic transition as a result of its Arab Spring

South Africa, furthermore, it seems, could rely on SADC support within Africa, as is evident from the support provided to South Africa for its UNSC non-permanent membership for 2011-12 and for the 2012 election of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to the Chair of the AU Commission.

South Africa has also partnered, in terms of a changing international environment and the challenges for international governance, with India, Brazil, Japan and has recently joined BRICS, thus adding Russia and China as partners in new constellations of emerging international multilateralism. Support from these quarters would be important at the international level once a vote is taken on new

UNSC permanent membership.

Mention has been made in the previous section of the importance of the AU

Constitutive Act in signalling African commitment to the UN through the international obligations stipulated by that Act and its obligations, penalties and functioning of its various organs. The intent of the Constitutive Act, as mentioned above, is clear. It is, nevertheless, important to refer to some impediments as they are currently constituted in these regards.

“The move from OAU to AU has been argued to be the first step for Africa to demonstrate its seriousness about protecting human rights and to maintain peace, security and stability in Africa” (Ntombizozuko, 2012: 10).

The AU has also, by means of its Constitutive Act Article 4(h) reserved the ‘right to intervene’ in African states in violation of a state’s explicit sovereignty in the event of


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gross violation of human rights, war crimes and genocide. The exact meaning of this right is still debated. To this debate has been added the arguments that the AU has not only a right, but a duty and obligation to intervene in such instances. In addition to the debate, political will and the means, both in terms of force and finances, do also impede action. Sight must, however, not be lost of the fact that

Professor Maluwa, AU Counsel at the time of the drafting of the AU Constitutive

Act, pronounced that the AU’s right to intervention was in line with current international law (Ntombizozuko, 2012: 11-14). As such the promulgation of the Act was done, one could safely assume, with the implicit agreement by AU members, on this principle and the responsibility it confers.

However, the AU has not laid down procedure in this regard, yet; the African Court of Justice is not yet operational (Ntombizozuko, 2012: 15) and, as this study will show, competition between states – as is the nature of the international system – would hamper a pure application of the law, even to the extent that new, or prolonged conflict might ensue, including the defence of sovereignty.

Another impediment is to be found in the relationship between the AU and the UN.

According to the UN Charter all members of the UN shall refrain in their or the political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations. The UNSC, according to its Charter, has the prime international responsibility to decide on the use of force, thought that power may be relegated to regional organizations. On the other hand both the AU

Constitutive Act and the Africa Pe ace and Security Council confer on themselves the primary responsibility to promote peace, security and stability in Africa. In fact,

Ntombizozuko argues that the AU should only consider the support of the UNSC when it is in dire need of financial assistance. This position has the support of

African legal scholars who ground their arguments in the Rwandan genocide in

1994 reflected upon in the words of AU legal adviser Ben Kioko explaining that when questions were raised at the time as to whether the AU could possibly have the right to intervene other than through the Security Council, they were dismissed out of hand. Others, like Ambassador Sam Ibok, at the AU PSC argue that the AU is not an arm of the UNSC; the AU accepts the Council’s global authority, but would not wait for it to authorize an action that the AU wishes to take. Furthermore, the

AU’s prerogative includes the interpretation that even if regional organizations may decide to intervene, regional deliberations should take precedence over global deliberations, even when relevant regional bodies decide not to act, or are incapable of acting effectively (Ntombizozuko, 2012: 18-23).

This, however, still leaves a speculative environment within which action might or might not be required and does not conclusively address the conundrums presented by the expression of power and interest within the UNSC dynamic. It also implies persistent AU weakness and indecision and expected lack of AU consensus, particularly since human rights abuses, war crimes and genocide, in terms of international law, require full attention and redress from the international community. Lack of action in the AU is, after all, in historical terms historically and in terms of an African collective decision making world view, to be found in an unwritten rule or unwillingness (or a fear) by African leaders to criticize each other and that their reaction to conflict depends on the involvement of a particular state

[or states] in the conflict and the nature of the conflict (Ntombizozuko, 2012: 30).


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Mostly, in any event, the AU has acted in response to conflict in terms of Article 4(j) of its constitutive Act, namely upon consent of member states and not in terms of its full right of intervention as prescribed in terms of Article 4 (h). The latter does not require the consent of member states which is closer to consideration of the genocide and human rights violations cannot claim impunity under a doctrine of absolute sovereignty, as former AU Chairperson Thabo Mbeki has said

(Ntombizozuko, 2012: 43-47).

It remains to be seen how conflict management will evolve according to the latter, now that the decision has been taken in 2013 to practically go ahead with the establishment of an African stand-by force for this purpose as Africa continues to improve in its management of African peace and security issues.

There is no guarantee at this stage that an AU consensus would be reached on the best African candidates, and the process that would determine the preferred African candidates for a reformed UNSC. It must also be remembered that new members of the Security Council must first be approved by two thirds of the members of the

UNGA, followed by the unanimous endorsement of the current P5 members of the

UNSC. The dynamics of this entire process and the debate that would precede finality on reform of the UNSC is a complicated diplomatic process, the intrigues of which should be expected to continue for an unpredictable period.

Not only is there schism at the international level on UNSC reform, but there is disagreement between Africa and the rest of the international community and between African states on the issue of reform to the UNSC. Africa acknowledged the reality, through the Sirte Declaration of July 2005, that negotiations with other regions would be a must as part of finding an international consensus on UNSC reform and provided the mandate and follow-up mechanism in this regard.

Reasons for disagreement on UNSC reform have taken the form of various critiques, but the most important probably is the fissures that started to show during the AU and G-4 consultations on UNSC reform and criticism on the AU position

(the Ezulwini Consensus) which advocates regional representation at the high

UNSC level for Africa, whilst the current UN system allows only for the representation of countries as states at the UNSC. The Ezulwini position has also been seen by critics as an inflexible negotiation position and, is therefore, doomed to failure (Beri, 2012).

The G-4 and the AU opened negotiations in London in 2005 in order to forge further consensus, but also to find a coalition that would strengthen the AU position and that of international coalition partners on the issue without which no specific group would be able to independently achieve the required international support on reform to the UNSC (Beri, 2012). The outcomes, however, were negative. Not identifying the two African candidates for the proposed two African permanent seats was seen as a weakness and an incomplete consensus by the G-4. Only 36 of the then 53 members of the AU voted in favour of the Sirte Declaration, confirming

African disunity. This reality is an inhibiting factor in negotiating with groupings outside of Africa, without which international consensus cannot be reached. At the same time it is doubtful that any reform package, without the support of the Africa in

the would succeed (Beri, 2012).


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Beri adds that since the above failed negotiations between the G-4 and the AU new entrants have also entered the fray adding to the perception that Africa has not yet united on the outstanding issue of identifying Africa’s candidates; Kenya and

India has stepped forward, for example, as a leading international contender. In the opinion of Beri, India’s UNSC ambition is one of the reasons why India has of late pro-actively engaged and strengthened its relationship with Africa, despite the fact that Africa has not endorsed or supported India’s position, but only acknowledges its proposed candidature (Beri, 2012). In any event, there is not yet any consensus amongst the P-5 members of the UNSC on reform to the Council.

African states in fact do not totally agree on the proposals espoused by the Ezulwini

Consensus. This is clear from various statements that had been offered at the UN.

At the concluding debate on Security Council reform in the General Assembly in

2010, Sudan for example expressed its support for the abolition of the veto;

Ethiopia also reminded the UNGA of Africa’s opposition to the right of a veto; as long as it existed, however, the Ethiopian state would support the extension of the veto to new members; Nigeria spoke up for Africa and for Latin America, called for flexible negotiations and echoed Ethiopia’s views on the veto (UN, 2010,

GA/11023). The contenders for UNSC permanent membership, as relative newcomers to statehood and to democracy, continue to be faced with multiple challenges that would impact on the criteria that have been put forward as qualifications. These include the usual threats to weak states and democracies that continuously give rise to excessive challenges to statehood and to democracy, including ethnic strife, corruption, undemocratic abuse of power, sell-out to foreign power, the inability to maintain or establish strong institutions and efficient democratic governance. Growing corruption and the steady deterioration of local governance is an evident threat to democracy in South Africa and ethnic conflict has raised its ugly head in Kenya again, for example.

It is not only the AU that suffers from shortcomings when it comes to peace and security and its mediation, but the UN has, also as a result of diplomatic interaction with the AU, realized that it should adapt to challenges and changes. On 23

September 2008, the President of Burkina Faso convened a high level meeting of the UNSC on ‘mediation and settlements of disputes’. As far back as 2004 the High

Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change noted the increase in UN demand for mediation, yet the allocation of resources devoted to this function had remained minimal. As part of the outcomes of the 2005 World Summit the UN established a

Mediation Support Unit to assist the UN and partners, such as regional and subregional organizations and states. The September 2008 High Level meeting also recognized the reality that the UN does not have a monopoly on mediation, as

Article 33 of the UN Charter requires states to make every effort to solve their internal disputes. This High Level meeting also agreed that it might be better, in terms of preventing further loss of life to rather bring a conflict situation to ripeness

(when parties have reached a mutually hurting stalemate that inevitably forces negotiation) than to wait for ripeness. In 2008, therefore, the UN was beginning to assist the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Economic

Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the AU and the EU to strengthen strengthen regional capability for mediation and established mediation partnerships

UN, together with a regional, or sub-regional organization could jointly mediate, but


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where one is appointed to represent both. The processes for such appointments have not yet been finalized though. Importantly, the 2008 High Level Meeting recognized the need to create a large body of professional mediation and regional experts and databases on experts to be internationally shared for the purposes of conflict mediation (UN, 2009). Africa has been, and is, contributing to this continuous debate on the reform of global governance and that of the UNSC.

Returning to the current impasse in international consensus on reform of the UNSC the following closing remarks should bring this chapter to temporary closure.

Temporary, since the debate is not settled, and the one constant in international relations, that of change, expected or unexpected, is ever present.

Africa finds itself at the crossroads of monumental historic developments. The fuzzy origins of its known history, the earliest contributions to anthropology and studies on the origin of humankind and obvious (but perceived marginal) contributions to early globalization, international trade and human migration, its addition and contribution to an age-old inhumane practice of slavery, its overwhelming exposure to European colonial expansion and the impact of the development of states and nationalism, its vying for a recognized contributor to the advances and advantages of globalization, are all facets confirming Africa’s search for an international identity and international recognition as an equal member of the international community. Africa’s views and thoughts on the nature of humankind and IR display both universal and particular ideas and cultural orientation. This is not unique since a singular model and theory in IR is not found in Western or Asian philosophy and religion as well. What is important to recognize, though, is that due to the above-mentioned factors, Africa’s particular historicism – underwritten by other philosophies and theories as well – and its exposure to the forces that shape

IR, has prompted Africa to claim its right to not only contribute to international governance, but also to be afforded recognition for its contribution to the shaping of the international community. The afore-going chapter attempted to highlight some of those contributions, and although not extensive or complete, has provided some insight into Africa’s evolving participation in, and shaping of, international


Africa’s importance, due to its profile in international peace and security matters, provides an undeniable opportunity and historical inevitability to Africa to contribute to and influence peace and security governance, also at the level of the UNSC.

The history of Pan-Africanism and its seemingly natural orientation to Marxist or

Constructivist IR theories, the establishment of the OAU and subsequent evolvement into the AU and its resultant interaction with the United Nations and other bodies of global governance provide enough evidence that Africa has and is increasingly contributing to the practice of IR and addressing challenges to IR and its environment. To its credit, Africa has surprisingly and against many odds managed to continue with its integration and with initiatives that address shortfalls in the structures of its continental and regional governance institutions and the expansion and deepening of its interaction on issues of peace and security, both within the continent and with the global organization tasked with overseeing others, that deserves mention, is Africa’s contribution to the debate on closer


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and post-conflict peace reconstruction. Africa’s contribution to the continued strengthening of international interaction in these regards is a permanent issue on the international political agenda of African diplomatic interaction.

Although the Ezulwini Consensus has been judged to be an incomplete proposal towards reform of the UNSC, it reflects the only continental consensus on this debate and forms part of a host of different other incomplete international proposals in this regard. It is a significant contribution to this debate and provides a platform for further debate on reform to international governance at the international level, provided discussions on this issue remain flexible and innovative in their nature.

Taking into consideration the progress the AU has made with the establishment of the AU since 2000 with the consolidation of the structures mandated to deal with

African peace and security issues, the hightened and continued debate within the

UN on UNSC reform and on the relationship between the AU and UNSC, the increasing African involvement in managing peace and security in the African continent, it must confidently be stated that Africa must take, and be allowed to take, more responsibility for the prevention, management and post-conflict reconstruction in the search for sustainable peace and security in Africa. This, logically, implies a permanent African voice within the UNSC as well.

As an African state and member of the AU, South African views on and contribution to this debate, should provide an important element to these discussions, particularly since South Africa’s return to the international community following

South Africa’s complete democratization that culminated in its first comprehensive democratic elections in 1994. This should be such, not only because of international expectations from South Africa as a fully-fledged member of the international community, but also in recognition of South Africa’s transition to full democracy. South Africa’s return to the international community as a normal state within the international system of nations naturally would thus be of interest in terms of its diplomatic practice, not only in addressing its own interests, but also in terms of its orientation and contribution to the management of international governance structures. The following chapter of this study will reflect on South African diplomatic contributions in this regard, as from 1994.


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“We all know, and the whole world knows it, that Algeria is not French, that Angola is not Portuguese, that Kenya is not English, that Ruanda-Urundi is not Belgian.

We know that Africa is neither French, nor British, nor American, nor Russian, … that it is African”

(Lumumba, 1960)

This quote from earlier African freedom struggles still conjures – and reflects – the importance that South African current leadership places on the centralization of

Africa in affairs African, both nationally and internationally. It underscores finding both reason and voice for a necessary requirement to get international relations pertaining to Africa done in the African way, including that Africa obtains the required and deserved recognition on a reformed UNSC. In other words, reform of the UNSC and international governance has to reflect this quoted reality.

During the opening paragraphs of her acceptance speech as AU Commission

Chairperson, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (2012) quoted from the Nelson Mandela biography “Long Walk to Freedom” saying that, although her quote referred to the former South African President’s political journey in South Africa, which was not yet ended, it could also apply to the continent: “…our long walk to a prosperous, peaceful and integrated Africa has not ended and there are many more hills to climb ahead of us”. She, furthermore, quoted first OAU Chairperson, Haile Selassie, who in 1963 said that “we name our first great task the final liberation of those Africans still dominated by foreign exploitation and control” and continued to deliberately state that it was now up to us [Africans] to now define our own mission, to fulfill it and not to betray it (Dlamini-Zuma, 2012). She pertinently utilized the opening quote to this chapter in support of her argument and acceptance speech.

This, in essence, encapsulates South Africa’s African focus in its foreign policy and

IR orientation, thus providing the most important impetus to its formulation of its diplomatic action as regards the international debate on reform of the UNSC which has found pertinent expression in the Ezulwini Consensus.

The aim of this chapter will thus be to determine South Africa’s position, focus and impact on this debate, with particular reference to the country’s post-1994 diplomatic effort, following its democratic transformation. The distinct presidential periods variously under the leadership of Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and Jacob

Zuma will be investigated, in particular South Africa’s two terms as non-permanent member of the UNSC (2007/2008 and 2011/2012). In essence, the chapter will seek to explain South Africa’s expected and willing contributions to diplomatic debate on UNSC reform, in order to address transformational challenges and realities in the domain of global governance.


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4.2 South Africa’s return to the international community under the

Presidency of Nelson Mandela

South Africa’s ‘unexpected’ democratic transformation heralded its acceptance as a fully-fledged member to the international community and the latter’s associations and structures, values and practices, obligations and responsibilities. It brought with it heightened expectations from, and expanded obligations to, the international community and the wider IR environment. The expression of its diplomatic intentions following the first fully democratic elections in South Africa and the inauguration of its first fully democratically elected government would reflect a transformative conclusion to its internal or national metamorphosis.

For the purpose of this study a closer look must, therefore, be taken at the transformative diplomacy of the post-1994 South African state and its first

President, Nelson Mandela. The diplomatic style of this era, (1994-1999) was, according to Chris Landsberg (2010:79), characterized by a new-found legitimacy at home and a re-invigorated credibility abroad.

In other words the new transformative state pronounced and announced itself as one that would fundamentally break with the past. This transformative diplomacy based on the new South Africa’s vision and image it wanted to portray and project, the priorities it was defining for itself and the relationship it wanted to forge on the

African continent and the world found its way firmly into South African diplomatic expression (Landsberg 2010: 80).

The new government importantly announced that it would not follow a reactive foreign policy, but one that sees the world as relatively insecure, flexible and still evolving, thereby requiring more proactive and assertive strategy. In other words, the new South Africa would commit itself to active participation in key institutions and engagement with key states, while seeking reform to systems and rules created over time. The major challenge to a reform-driven foreign policy would be the fact that most international institutions were set up to benefit developed states, rather than the developing nations and new economies of the South (Landsberg, 2010:

80-81). In this approach and the need to deal with a changing international environment, the Mandela government relied heavily on the ruling party’s political traditions and its historical policy documents: the Freedom Charter of 1955, the

ANC’s Foreign Policy Perspectives of 1994 (Landsberg, 2010: 81).

At the outset thus, South Africa adopted a diplomacy based upon a principled approach towards international relations, conforming to the institutionalized and accepted practices derived from international law and diplomatic conventions

(Landsberg, 2010: 95 ). As the Department of Foreign Affairs declared in 1996,

South Africa would seek just and lasting solutions to the problems of humankind through the promotion of democracy worldwide, applying justice and international law to guide the conduct and relations between nations, international peace and a foreign policy reflecting the interests of Africa. Its reformist approach did not imply a confrontational stance towards the major economic powers of the world or towards or the UN. Instead, it would call for engagement with the active participation of over time. South Africa was convinced at that time that there was a growing


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perception in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development

(OECD), World Bank and other international structures that the prevailing international system did not reflect the interests of the vast majority of states that are classed as ‘developing’ but instead entrenched the dominant position of the global North (South Africa, DFA 1996). The same South African Foreign Policy

Discussion Document of 1996 clearly states that the United Nations should be reformed and strengthened in order to deal with contemporary global environmental, economic and developmental challenges.

Operationally, post-1994 foreign policy stipulated that South Africa would not engage Africa in a hegemonic or coercive manner, but would employ confidence-

(Landsberg, 2010:100-101). Bridge-building diplomacy stood out as premise in this regard, as described by the late Foreign Minister Alfred Nzo when he addressed the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs on 14 March 1995, saying that South Africa belonged to both the developed and developing worlds, able to relate as an equal to the industrial North, whilst, with conviction, striving to develop a better understanding of the needs and challenges and problems of the developing world (Landsberg, 2010: 102). In the eyes of critics this approach invariably yielded inconsistencies with regard to the sale of arms to countries with a poor human rights records, with the establishment of close relations with ‘friends and allies of the ANC’ during the struggle against apartheid, countries such as Cuba and

Iran (Landsberg, 2010: 99-111).

Notable multilateral priorities were that South Africa should engage in the debate on the various aspects of reform and financing of the UN; that consistent and comprehensive policies should be developed in terms of high level engagement in the Non-aligned Movement (NAM), the Commonwealth, the UN and G77; and the importance of future reform of the OAU and the UN (South Africa DFA, 1996).

Success was met with the assistance South Africa provided in solving the Lockerbie matter between Libya and the West, but success in peace mediation elsewhere on the African continent eluded the country. This was also the case with its principled stance on international relations. It was criticised for the different stances it took on peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), i.e. that negotiations and mediation should take centre stage, whereas in Lesotho, following a royal coup attempt in 1994, it intervened militarily (Landsberg, 2010: 114-118).

Nevertheless, South African focus remained also on reform of the UNSC in addressing international peace and stability, primarily because African conflicts take the main share of international peace and security attention. South African UN involvement took into consideration that conflict prevention, although intentionally entrenched into the UNSC structure by forcing agreement or veto between great powers, due to their ability to project power, thereby avoiding world conflagration, conflict nevertheless, to the greater extent, still remained a matter for crisis


Albeit that conflict occur on a smaller scale than the conflict that resulted in the establishment of the UN, namely WWII, it still occurs widely and mainly in Africa.

South Africa thus placed a premium on the prevention of conflict in Africa, the management of mediation and the protracted responsibilities associated with postconflict reconstruction and development. Contributions in these regards, including


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that of South Africa, in terms of participation in mediation in Africa, in diplomatic

UNSC reform, should thus be credited as contributing to addressing the achievement and failures (which require change or adjustment in order not to become repetitively flawed) of the UNSC.

Thus, Dumisano Kumalo (at the time South Africa’s Permanent Representative to the UN) on 30 September 1999 impressed upon the General Assembly the importance of restructuring multilateral institutions, such as the United Nations and in particular its powerful Security Council, to enable an integrated approach to peace and development, and the crucial support required of the entire UN system in the creation of an enabling environment for sustainable development.

Problematic in this regard was the lack of timely and decisive UNSC response to conflict situations in Africa, as compared with the UN’s involvement in other parts of the world. The United Nations had an obligation, he urged, to be seen by the peoples of the world as a truly even-handed interlocutor and peacemaker (UN


It had to be left to the Thabo Mbeki presidency, however, to provide more structure in the service of purpose and aim to this debate. This would be reflected mostly in developments related to conflict resolution on the African continent and the cooperative relationship between the UN and Africa, as well as South African involvement in new global governance formations that could in fact form future criteria for the capacity of states to be included in a reformed UNSC.

4.3 South Africa’s diplomatic contributions to the debate on UNSC reform under the leadership of President, Thabo Mbeki.

Mbeki’s era, the ‘Mbeki decade’ (1999-2008/2009), was characterised by a continuation of South Africa’s diplomacy of transformation, but with decidedly more focus on Africa. South Africa’s foreign policy focus became more African in its identity, regionally, internationally, as well as nationally (Landsberg, 2010: 139-


Mbeki’s achievements included the role he played in envisaging an ‘African

Renaissance’, transforming the OAU into the African Union, institutionalising the

African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), and establishing the AU Peace and

Security Council, the aim of which was preventative diplomacy, peacemaking, peace-keeping and post-conflict reconstruction and development in Africa

(Landsberg, 2010: 148-155).

South African diplomacy in the Mbeki era became personified through Mbeki’s role as an “institutions man” as Landsberg (2010: 151) describes him. South Africa’s greatest impact in this sense can be found in the role it played in the formalisation and emergence of strengthened South-South interaction as well as enhanced

North-South interaction – in this instance the emergence of the AU, IBSA, the

Asian-African Sub-Regional Organisations Conference (AASROC), the New Asia-

China, Mexico, South Africa) groupings and the G8 Africa Plan stand testimony to that diplomatic style (Landsberg, 2010).


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This trajectory emphasised continued diplomatic effort to focus the international community on the need to reform global governance.

South Africa’s diplomacy aimed at finding a middle ground and at the same time push for adjustments to the international governance sphere is probably nowhere better illustrated than South Africa’s diplomatic involvement in these emerging

These organizations all call for, and therefore support, South Africa’s insistence on the democratization of global governance, and the urgent need for UNSC reform.

The Mandela government, as has already been indicated, strove to portray South

Africa as a good world citizen conducting a principle-driven foreign policy committed to human rights and international law as a guide to relations among nations. Mbeki, although not abandoning these principles, had to pursue trade-offs in his focus on advancing African conflict resolution priorities whilst maintaining Africa’s independence from the West. This has had to be done – continuously so for South

Africa, even after his departure as President and in his continued contribution to conflict mediation in Africa – whilst addressing the geopolitical imperatives of emerging powers such as China and India. During South Africa’s first term as nonpermanent member of the UNSC, the strain in the trade-offs mentioned here could clearly be distinguished when issues concerning Zimbabwe, Myanmar and Iran’s nuclear stand-off with the West featured prominently in the UNSC



Sovereign interests and the history of association of political organisations, remain a determining factor in every state’s international action. The debate on African unity and the democratization of Africa – two political tracks that could be directly associated with Africa’s role in the discourse on UNSC reform – is, however, continuing unabated in disunity. A recent tit-for-tat between Thabo Mbeki and wellknown academic and writer, Adekeye Adebajo (Adebajo 2012[b]), provides evidence of the gulfs that still exist in Africa and that inhibit Africa’s and South

Africa’s influence on the debate on UNSC reform. In an article commemorating the tenth Anniversary of the AU, Thabo Mbeki bemoans the fact that Africa is still failing in exercising its right to self-determination; he criticises a lack of adequate

socio-economic cultural development; he lambasts continued human rights abuses and laments a persistent disrespect by world leaders towards Africa. He also criticises African leaders as corrupt, unprincipled and rent-seeking, as being too over reliant on Western donor funding, as failures in making decisions local law and in disrespect democratic law, rule when resorting to military coups (Adebajo,

2012). In response to these observations Adekeye Adebajo, academic and writer, criticises Mbeki for not taking some responsibility, as a founding father of the AU – established in Durban, South Africa in 2002 – for these failures, since it was Mbeki, according to Adebajo, who year after year at G8 Summits worked diplomatically for colonial (and neo-colonial) powers; he also emphasizes South Africa’s dismissal of a 2007 APRM report warning of slow socio-economic reform in South Africa and rising xenophobia; he points to Mbeki’s anti-colonial criticism of Western hegemonic influence in Cote D’Ivoire and in Libya where as a majority of UN and AU members supported the position that the incumbent president in Cote D’Ivoire, Laurent

Gbagbo, had lost the election to Allessano Ouatara (Adebajo, 2012).



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Adebajo, refutes Mbeki’s criticism of South Africa, Nigeria and Gabon’s votes in the

UNSC in favour of intervention in Libya admitting that the South Africa, Gabon,

Nigeria, Troika at the time of voting did not understand the true intentions of the

UK/France/USA coalition. There had been arguments linking interpretation of

UNSC 1973 on Libya and so-called ‘mission creep’, but Adebajo also argues that there had not been clear communication emanating from the AU Commission of positions to African missions in New York (See also Adebajo, 2008, 2011 and


Whatever the perspectives and positions on this debate, what stands out is the fact that probably the biggest weakness of the AU in its ability to influence the direction of the debate on UNSC reform is that it does not project a common foreign policy.

It therefore leaves the debate to be driven by individual African states.

Nevertheless, Ezulwini remains Africa’s consensus position on reform of the UNSC.

It remains to be seen though whether this consensus would survive the continuous revision, reconfirmation and future negotiations and consensus at UN level on this important global peace and security issue.

The centrality of Africa as far as foreign policy identification is concerned is clear in the post-1994 trend for successive South African governments to keep on shedding its Anglo-Afrikaner pro-Western posture and increasingly articulating an Afro-centric foreign policy. Despite South Africa not being a geo-political hegemon, partly in reaction to pax-Afrikanerdom of the Apartheid past, it would probably remain an economic hegemon – if it succeeds in its internal economic reconstruction and remains a viable, incorruptible, international trade and investment partner thereby, in the future, projecting this hegemony through regional integration in Africa.

Should international and regional integration remain the drivers towards the future,

“the transnational regionalization of the state is inescapable as a precondition for continental peace and stability in overcoming Africa’s colonially inherited fragmentation – the source of the continent’s endemic weakness” (Kornegay, 2008).

The latter trend would inevitably bring increased pressure on the international community to accept the need for UNSC reform and to move towards this end through a process of real negotiations within the UN.

The founding of new international political-economic regions in this drive for reform to the global peace and security construct was mooted by Thabo Mbeki in January

2003 and resulted inter alia in the promulgation (in Evian in June 2003) of the IBSA

Forum (De Sousa, 2007). IBSA has since become an influential voice in matters of international governance, expressing diplomatic positions not only on the broad philosophical tenets of global governance but also on individual international crises that are on the UNSC agenda. An example is its statement of 11 August 2011 on the situation in Syria, calling for an immediate end to all violence and noting that

President Assad of Syria had acknowledged mistakes had been made by security forces (People’s Daily Online, 2011).

South African diplomatic projection is, furthermore, increasingly aligned to a Look-

AASROC, an integrative sub-regional organization, carries in its name the intention collectively, those contributors to the international society that could still be seen as outsiders, or aspiring members, to those clubs that play in the international super


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league. It also carries in its intention the seeds of democratization of international society in the sense that numbers count.

Thabo Mbeki’s interaction with the G8 – inter alia calling for developing world debt relief and achieving the adoption of the G-8 Africa Action Plan in 2002 – resulted in their 2005 Gleneagles Summit review of this plan (Mbeki and Princeton, 2004) ending with specific commitments following their meeting with a cross-section of

Africa leaders to support the development of Africa capacity in resolving conflict and keeping peace. This included provision of technical assistance to an African Standby Force; support to the AU to deploy observers and civilian peace-keepers; and the provision of flexible funding for AU peace-support operations, including support to regional and international organizations to reinforce African capacity to promote

The same Summit in 2005 furthermore committed to the following, namely to help

Africa to prevent conflict and ensure that previous conflicts do not re-emerge, by working in partnership with the AU and sub-regional organisations, including providing resources to develop a planned Continental Early-Warning system and into violence. The G8 claimed that it would enhance the capabilities of the AU and

African sub-organisations, building on the existing G8 Action Plan for Expanding

Global Capacity for Peace-support operations. The Summit also committed to work in support of the Secretary-General’s proposed new Peacebuilding Commission

(PBC) (Shillinger, 2009: 233-234).

At UN level, a crucial development (related to the traditional mandate of the UNSC), was the establishment of the PBC, the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) as well as the

Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) as a result of the 2005 World Summit.

On 17 October 2007, South Africa’s Permanent Representative, Dumisano Kumalo, said that in its first year the Peacebuilding Commission had been able to operate within a flexible framework. It had, among other things, adopted country-specific formats for Burundi and Sierra Leone, and launched processes for developing judged by its ability to make a real difference on the ground, far away from New


The Peacebuilding Fund was understood to be a catalyst for attracting muchneeded official development assistance at a time when there might be little hope of success towards recovery.

Its role was to be a bridge and a catalyst for attracting long-term development aid in countries that had emerged from conflict (UN, 2007).

The PBSO and the PBF were established by decisions of the 2005 World Summit.

They were established with the intention to convene and coordinate the UN system and interested member states towards supporting the peacebuilding efforts in postconflict or fragile and vulnerable states through the mobilization of political, financial and technical resources ( and, 2013).

These additional – or supporting – structural reforms at the UN, aimed at improving the UNSC’s peace and security function in the absence of change to the UNSC structure, although a mile stone, have, however, fallen in danger of stagnation.

A Special Research Report on the UNSC and the PBC, published in 2013 by and – providing regular analyses of UN peace and security developments and daily updates on UNSC developments


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respectively - state that while the UNSC originally signalled clear interest in the PBC by adopting Resolution 1646 in 2005, it has since been somewhat reluctant to engage in a more substantive relationship with the PBC ( and

The 2009 call for a review of the PBC, facilitated by the South African Ambassador to the UN, Baso Sanqu, in cooperation with his counterparts from Ireland and

Mexico resulted in their report “Review of the United Nations Peacebuilding

Architecture” (S/2010/393) of 19 July 2010. The report concluded that there still was not a clear sense of how the PBC had made a difference on the ground. The authors added that if that had been the case, the PBC would have had a higher place amongst UN priorities, a stronger relationship with the UNSC, the UNGA and

ECOSOC. It would also have carried more weight within the Secretariat, and financial institutions outside the UN would have seen the PBC as a key actor.

The 2013 Special Research Report on the UNSC and the PBC glaringly unveils that during the 18-24 May 2012 Security Council Visiting Missions to West Africa the work of the PBC was never mentioned during meetings with national interlocutors in

Liberia and Sierra Leone. The report, in conclusion, acknowledges that South

Africa, which left the UNSC at the end of 2012, was a member of all PBC country specific configurations, and as one of the three facilitators of the PBC five-year review, was intensely interested in the work of the Commission.

( and, 2013).

During this (2011/2012) term South Africa stated its objective in the UNSC as the need to advance the interests of Africa in particular and the South in general in the maintenance of global peace and security. To this end, and during its first term as non-permanent member of the UNSC, South Africa utilized its Presidency of the

Council in March 2007 to explore the relationship between the UNSC and regional organizations, in particular the AU. This theme was again raised in April 2008, during South Africa’s Presidency in that year, in a diplomatic move to refine and in Africa. As a result of this initiative, Thabo Mbeki hosted a debate of the Summit of the UNSC and the AU Peace and Security Council which resulted in UN

Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon appointing an AU-UN panel of distinguished persons to formulate proposals on sustainable support to regional organizations, in particular the AU. In April 2008 South Africa again hosted – at Ambassadorial level

– a follow-up meeting between the AU Peace and Security Council and the UNSC on the relationship between these two councils (Dlamini-Zuma, 2008). South Africa diplomatically thus pursued its stated foreign policy priorities, amongst which (as in response to a question from the political opposition) are to restructure the global balance of power, restructure global governance and have Africans possess their own future and development agenda (Dlamini-Zuma, 2007). South Africa’s diplomacy could thus be described as leveraging an ‘African solution’ within the

This is true also in terms of the dilemma presented in the UNSC when peace is expressed in terms of the interests (the reality checks) of its members in unequal


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terms (except for the veto) and not in terms of over-arching and universal values and their objectives.

However, for a country such as South Africa that manage to straddle IR divides, between North and South for example, and pursue an active diplomatic role in the establishment of structures that strengthen international society, its effort and contribution could rightly lay claim to an enhanced role for itself in a future reformed


The emerging diplomatic style of the Zuma era, following Thabo Mbeki’s resignation on 21 September 2008, although a continuation of the previously described trajectory of South African diplomacy, seems more embedded, theoretically at least, in the neo-Marxist domain, in that it seeks to advance principles related to a developmental political and economic agenda (Landsberg, 2010: 208).

4.4 South Africa’s diplomatic contributions to the debate on UNSC reform during the Jacob Zuma presidency

South Africa’s policy makers, post-Thabo Mbeki, have continued to call for institutional and behavioural change to international governance institutions. In expression of this trajectory, the country has, in an even more pronounced diplomatic manner, stressed the importance of its diplomatic relationships with emerging regional powers and a specific focus on what can be described as ‘A

Looking East Policy’. This approach, necessary due to the rise of Eastern economies, is also aimed at bringing a new political-economic reality to bear upon calls for UNSC and international institutional reform. The pre-eminence of national interests of the P2 (US and China in this instance) might not, however, work in the favour of UNSC reform.

Within the framework of its promotion of North-South and South-South relations, the

“Looking East” policy has not always favoured Permanent UNSC Members Russia and China’s interests in the UNSC. As regards the focus on the importance of regional organisations like the AU and the LAS, it can be argued, South Africa’s support for prominence in international peace processes involving these two bodies have actually played into the hands of the US/NATO alliance in the case of Libya and into the hands of the US/Arab alliance within the LAS in the case of Syria.

Therefore, as regards the UNSC, South Africa’s positioning during the Zuma period has arguably favoured the interests and power alignment of the Western P-3 in the


As far as Africa is concerned and its own position on reform of the UNSC, South

Africa has not moved away from, or altered its support for, the Ezulwini Consensus.

Senior South African diplomats have continued with the trajectory thus far held forth in this and the previous chapters.

To this end a closer look should be taken at South African official diplomatic positions after 2009 and South Africa’s two tenures as non-permanent member of the UNSC from 2007 to 2008 and from 2011 to 2012.

Furthermore, in order to put South Africa’s continued call for UNSC reform into a linear perspective, South Africa’s foreign policy perspective on the dynamic and


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altering political-economic international environment must be addressed as well.

This is also important in terms of understanding South Africa’s inclination towards and inclusion into BRICS.

South Africa, as is the case with the African continent, is experiencing an unprecedented deepening of relations across the board with China, particularly as regards trade and investment opportunities. According to Ngombane (2010), South

Africa perceives China to prioritize its economic development to that of a ‘Great

Power’ through the development of a ‘socialist market economy’; and, to achieve international status and respect as a ‘Great Power’ with global influence.

China, according to Ngombane, sees the US as the major challenge, but is reluctant to displace the latter at this point in time due to its own domestic challenges and the need to divert resources from national development. China wishes to support a multi-polar world (similar to the official South African world view) in which the power of the US was constrained. South Africa, in terms of a multi-polar world view, would be diplomatically working opportunities in these fields in terms of its African Agenda, mainly through the Forum for China-Africa

Cooperation (FOCAC), taking into consideration that the main areas of international strategic competition among the main global powers are, inter alia, for oil from

Gabon, the DRC, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa (Ngombane, 2010).

At the highest level of international peace and security governance China can only displace the US when it invokes its veto in the UNSC and constrain the US by aligning itself with an international multi-polarity that would continue to serve its currently call for significant changes to the remaining construct of the UNSC. For

South Africa, however, the rise of China is strengthening the arguments in favour of multi-polarity which must necessarily also be reflected in a more equitable UNSC.

And, since South Africa’s exports are not diverse, but consist mainly of metals, minerals and commodities, South Africa – and Africa’s – exposure to the interests of major powers in IR would be high, adding to the complexities and vulnerabilities of its foreign policy and diplomatic interaction. It would be these realities and states’ competition for international attention and not so much South Africa’s position in support of the Ezulwini Consensus that would probably have a more profound influence on the further development of the debate on UNSC reform.

Notably, South Africa’s inclusion in BRICS came at a time when Indonesia was expected to become the next BRIC member and when Turkey and Mexico were also mentioned as potential members – with all of these nations having a substantially larger GDP than that of South Africa. This was not only an admission that desired changes to global governance could not be achieved without Africa, but it should not be forgotten that Africa (albeit from a low base, but measured in human capital of over one billion people) has the third fastest growing economy after China and India (Shubin, 2011).

South Africa sees this reality as reliable support to its arguments in favour of African recognition and inclusion as permanent member to the UNSC, with full veto powers. The call for UNSC reform forms part and parcel of the strategy to bridge

North and South, as well as South and South in order to provide a more democratic


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and representative and rules-based global forum for the international management of peace and security.

Frances Kornegay wrote in 2008 on the exclusion of South Africa from BRIC, in comparison to South Africa’s participation in IBSA that, from an African perspective

South Africa’s exclusion from BRIC would complicate the notion and dynamics of

However, in 2009 International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-

Mashabane wrote to her BRIC counterparts to raise the possibility of South Africa’s membership to this grouping. In 2010 South Africa President Zuma met with all the

BRIC leaders, in separate bilateral meetings. During a state visit to China that year, following a visit to Russia, South Africa and China announced a ‘comprehensive strategic partnership’, followed by statements of support from the Indian and

Brazilian foreign ministers (Shubin, 2011).

Following this active South African diplomacy, Nkoana-Mashabane received a telephone call from the Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Yiechi, on 23 December

2010, informing her that agreement had been reached within BRIC to invite South

Africa as a full member into BRIC (Shubin, 2011).

BRICS membership is in line with South Africa’s global diplomatic intentions in that all the BRIC members maintain versatile international relations, including strong relations with the so-called traditional centres of power namely the US and the EU.

BRICS members, furthermore, are regional centres of influence and economic powers. South Africa generates a quarter of the African continent’s GDP and more than half of its electricity, making South Africa – not the UK, US or China – the most active investor in Africa. South Africa expects from this relationship support and cooperation in the quest for more equitable negotiations in multilateral bodies towards reform of the Bretton Woods Institutions and the global trading system

To this end, the South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, following the official invite to join BRICS said “The rationale for South Africa’s approach was in consideration of a matter of crucial importance to BRICS member states, namely the role of emerging economies in advancing the structuring of the global political, economic and financial architecture into one that is more equitable, balanced and rests on the important pillar of multilateralism (Brand South Africa,

2011). Policymakers in South Africa thus view the other members of BRICS as key geopolitical allies in the struggle to restructure global economic and political institutions in order to give Africa and the developing world an equitable say in world


In support of South Africa’s voice within BRICS, Deputy Minister Ebrahim (2012b) quoted Standard Bank economists as saying that with seats in the UNSC and the

G-20, South Africa’s voice travels far and formally engulfing Africa in a wider South-

South arc would serve BRICS ambitions to foster a South-South counter-narrative to advanced world dominance of global economic and political affairs.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane reminded when she related Nelson Mandela’s recalling of Rome’s decision to destroy the City of Carthage, namely that the children of this continent (Africa) would not be the slaves of others any longer, its


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lands not the property of other peoples and its resources not a source of enrichment for other peoples. In other words, “Our national interests are about our domestic priorities and security concerns; our values and principles at the heart of which is

Ubuntu, our Pan-African obligations and responsibilities that have roots in the long history of struggle against colonialism; and what is expected of us as a global citizen” (Nkoana-Mashabane, 2012b).

In conclusion to this chapter, and in addressing South African ambitions regarding

UNSC reform, a closer look at South Africa’s voting and contributions within the

UNSC during its tenures in the UNSC as non-permanent member of the UNSC from

2007 to 2008 and from 2011 to 2012, should throw further light on an assessment of South Africa’s call for UNSC reform.

4.5 South Africa’s voting patterns, bargaining considerations and positions related to its call for UNSC Reform (2007/2008 and 2011/2012)

“A critical challenge facing our multilateral system, and the UN in particular, is its non-responsiveness to the reconfiguration in the global system.”

South Africa intends to remain a functioning and supportive member of the international system. However, it is a transformative member of this international community, seeking reform of and not replacement of its institutions, organs and before South Africa took its seat as non-permanent member of the UNSC for the second time in four years, said that South Africa approached its membership of the

UNSC from the premise that the UN remained the most appropriate forum for addressing international challenges in the maintenance of international peace and security. The Security Council had powers beyond any other, but the power configuration was not in favour of non-permanent members and national interests sometimes override international commitments, she said. The unfair use and abuse of diplomatic tools at members’ discretion could make the UNSC’s work very difficult, she added. The minister reflected on her view at the time that the 2011

UNSC would reflect the membership of a potentially reformed Council since it would consist of the P-5 as well as emerging powers that aspire for permanent membership, namely Brazil, India, Nigeria and South Africa. It would also seat the

Sub-Saharan Africa ‘G-3’ of South Africa, Nigeria and Gabon, with South Africa and

Nigeria at the time being members of the AU Peace and Security Council. She made it clear that South Africa would use its tenure at the UNSC to promote and enhance cooperation between the two Councils and reiterated, when pressed by the media on prospects for UNSC reform, hat South Africa still stood by the

But the dynamics between geopolitical actors are not the only factors influencing the debate on UNSC reform, or the debate and proposals on the bargaining models or structures that such reform should entail, considering the fact that outside options do exist within the existing model.


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Voeten, for example, in his presentation of various bargaining models within the

UNSC, claims that there are prevalent circumstances within the current UNSC set up when, in the event of disagreement within the UNSC, non-permanent members due to their closer alliance with the US, e.g. may vote against proposals that the superpower would not veto (Voeten, 2001). The alignment of non-permanent necessarily, therefore, form an extension of the bargaining powers of the P-5 in the event of disagreement within the UNSC. This inevitable outcome of UNSC dynamics would thus form a natural progression to Voeten’s analysis of outside options as a logic of UNSC action and bargaining positions. This is, however, also applicable to situations where there is agreement on intervention, such as UNSC

Resolution1973 on Libya, which South Africa supported, but then, in its hindsight, fell foul to NATO interpretation and military intervention at a scale not foreseen by some of its African backers.

In the current case of Syria when South Africa supported regional intervention by the LAS, although in line with evolved UNSC practice to work more closely with regional organizations, the involvement of the LAS, from the Syrian government perspective and the Iranian-Shiite axis as well as the P-2 members China and

Russia, came under ‘undue’ influence of support linked to the international and regional agendas of the P-3 (US, UK and France) resulting in Sunni Gulf States

Qatar and Saudi-Arabia taking the lead in forcing political change through military support to Syrian opposition groups.

UNSC stalemate, furthermore, opened the door to the forging of the international

Friends of Syria coalition as an outside option. At closer inspection, what this reveals, is that the UNSC and race for international influence, is still firmly in the hands of the P-5, both in terms of the execution of the UNSC’ mandate, and in terms of influencing the behaviour of the international system in its exposure to the

UNSC and the implementation of its mandate globally, even if it means circumventing the decisions or non-decisions of the UNSC.

The South African Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation referred to this phenomenon in an address to the South African Institute of

International Relations on 3 September 2012, but placed the emphasis on the

Chapter VI options, namely for the Council to seek negotiated and peaceful and preventative means in order to exhaust options for pacifist settlement of disputes without prejudice to rights, claims or positions of the concerned parties (Ebrahim,


The call for reform to the UNSC, as has been mentioned, is also aimed at changing the working methods of global governance institutions. South Africa, with this in mind, has used its tenure in the UNSC to consistently call for more assertive action by the UNSC aimed at bringing about permanent settlements to outstanding peace and security crises. In this regard South Africa, through the NAM, called for the monthly meetings of the UNSC on the Middle East to be conducted in the public chamber and not behind closed doors in a belief that openness and transparency in a democratic setting usually bring decisions to bear upon deliberations and would make it more difficult for one member to avoid action. This position was at first strongly opposed by P-5 members, but due to continued calls (diplomatic pressure) the UNSC eventually agreed to a public Council debate on the Middle East every three months, open to all UN members. South Africa, during its Presidency of the


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UNSC in January 2012, managed to call two open debates on the Middle East

South during the period of its Presidency in January 2012, also managed to steer the UNSC into a further debate on UNSC Resolution 2033, dealing with the enhancing of the UNSC relationship with the AU and the sharing of responsibilities with regional actors – a development with which permanent members are still at unease (Nganje, 2012).

The fact that the UNSC is overly exposed to power struggles between the P-5 means that smaller powers serving as non-permanent members in the Council are at risk of burning their fingers – a lesson that South Africa learned during its tenure in the UNSC in 2007/2008. The current changing IR power paradigm and environment, however, has also resulted in China and less so Russia (except for its recent stance on Syria) becoming more assertive in their positions against the

Western P-3 who previously dominated the UNSC agenda. This has also created opportunities for middle and smaller states to occupy space for themselves in the forging of consensus (Nganje, 2012.).

In other words, a changing IR environment in itself creates opportunities to alter the behaviour of the UNSC and its members.

South Africa, therefore, in its second term (2011/2012) concentrated on independently deciding a course of action and to focus the debate on long-term and structural questions relating to the UNSC. It also shifted the focus of the debate from mere crisis response to setting a stronger framework for dealing with and

South Africa has forged ahead with this diplomatic trajectory, despite the controversies created by its votes, during its 2007/2008 tenure in the UNSC against Western sponsored resolutions on Myanmar, Zimbabwe and Iran, for

example . This also despite the reluctance among certain P5 members to cede power to the AU, expressed in the statements of US and UK representatives stressing the primacy that the UN Charter confers to the UNSC. As US Permanent

Representative, Susan Rice, expressed it: “the Security Council was not subordinate to other bodies or to regional groups’ schedules or practices” (Nganje,


During its two terms at the UNSC, South Africa (until May 2012) co-sponsored 18

UNSC resolutions. Two of these were co-sponsored in 2007 and four in 2008. In

2011 the country co-sponsored 10 resolutions – all of which were co-sponsored with Nigeria and Gabon. Other prominent co-sponsored resolutions were with

Lebanon and with India and a majority were co-sponsored with the UK, France,

Portugal, Germany and the US. The indication, although only at a glance, is that

South Africa is working within its foreign policy parameters of promoting African,

South-South and North-South coordination within the Council. Bowland notes that although none of South Africa’s UNSC sponsored resolutions could be described as purely South-South resolutions, it should be noted that all the resolutions cosponsored by South Africa were also sponsored by Nigeria and by Gabon. South

Africa only abstained from one vote in 2007 – that of UNSC resolution 1757 authorizing the formation of the International Tribunal in the assassination of former

Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. In this term South Africa also voted against


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the failed resolution on Myanmar. In 2008 it voted against a resolution only once, namely the failed draft imposing sanctions against Zimbabwe. In 2011 it abstained once – in the case of Syria on a draft resolution condemning violence, but expressed concern at violence perpetrated by all parties to the conflict. Bowland in these instances and in her general assessment, concluded that the support of regional mechanisms for conflict mediation and opposition to neo-colonialism appears to have taken precedence over international pillars such as human rights

As regards South Africa’s positioning in the UNSC, attention should also be drawn to the fact that South African support for resolutions also raised criticism. Voting for

UNSC resolution 1973 on Libya is a case in point.

Criticism of South Africa’s support for the resolution and subsequent South African criticism of NATO interpretation of the mandate provided by the resolution and AU exclusion from the implementation process, resulted in additional interpretation of

South African backtracking on its international position.

If South Africa had abstained on UNSC Resolution 1973 (2011) its position could have been interpreted as a more nuanced disagreement rather than outright condemnation, in line with other BRICS members who abstained. However, both

Nigeria and Gabon – South Africa’s African partners – supported the resolution

It must also be mentioned that in support of its foreign policy objectives, the post-

1994 South African foreign ministry was restructured to reflect an increasing predilection for multilateralism in diplomacy. Whereas the pre-1994 Department of

Foreign Affairs consisted of bilateral units dealing with its international relations with a limited number of states, and only one multilateral unit dealing with UN matters, at present the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (as it was renamed in 2009) have the following multilateral units, with much larger staff components servicing them:

 a Branch Africa Multilateral at the level of Deputy Director-General;

 a Directorate Economic Affairs and Regional Organizations at the level of

Director, within the Branch Asia and Middle East;

 a Directorate Canada and Regional American Organizations at the level of

Director, within the Branch Americas;

 a Chief Directorate European Organizations and Institutions at the level of

Chief Director within the Branch Europe; and

 a Branch Multilateral at the level of Deputy Director-General dealing with the

UN and its organs overseeing Chief Directorates dealing with International

Law, Economic and Social Affairs, UN Nations Political, as well as Human

Rights and Humanitarian Affairs.

South African diplomacy, as represented by the above expanded multilateral structures of DIRCO and through its active diplomacy, has shown constant commitment to addressing the international transformation of the UNSC. Former


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South African Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Sangqu, could, therefore, on 15 November 2012 declare that there was evidence of some improvement in the working methods of the UNSC, that the annual consultations between the UNSC and the AUPSC had become more structured and more effective. He qualified his statement though, by adding that non-permanent members of the UNSC acted within structured limitations and constraints, inter alia, due to limited or no consultations by P5 members, by the P3 being the penholders of almost every country specific file on the UNSC agenda as well as the practice of drafting resolutions or decisions in small groups and presenting these as fait

accomplit to elected members (Sangqu, 2013).

What must be acknowledged is the reality that reform of the UNSC will be a process, and a prolonged process of intergovernmental UN negotiations as well as peripheral negotiations by a host of interested and relevant parties around this process at that. South Africa’s diplomacy is, therefore, also aimed at keeping this process – this debate – alive. It is thus important that Dr Ernest Bai Koroma,

Coordinator of the Committee of Ten Heads of State (C-10) on the United Nations

Security Council Reform, could include in his speech to the 20 th

Ordinary Session of the Heads of Government and States of the African Union in Addis Ababa on 28

January 2013 the UNGA decision of 2012 to roll-over the Intergovernmental

Negotiation Process on UNSC Reform (Koroma, 2013).

South Africa’s diplomatic contributions vis-à-vis the UNSC reflect a transformational trajectory of foreign policy expression since 1994, not only of South African diplomacy, but also of the country’s return to the international domain – and to

Africa – carrying with it a zeal that change is possible, preferable and necessary in consideration of alternatives to persistent challenges to global governance.

In this transformational trajectory, South Africa sees itself as a responsible actor within the international arena.

It acknowledges, through its diplomacy, that the IR environment is facing inevitable change, for various reasons of which an altering international power relationship and an increasing deepening of globalization and environmental challenges are

It has taken upon itself the responsibilities of international citizenship, to which it returned following its first fully democratic elections of 1994, to diplomatically address these realities and to contribute to the continued structuring of the

It has expanded its membership to international institutions and new multilateral structures. It has aligned itself more closely, although and expectedly so not without controversy, to emerging influential international power players.

It has diplomatically worked to focus the G-8 and the UNSC on addressing developmental issues and challenges facing the developing world. Its post-1994 governments have sought international partners in efforts to strengthen and deepen


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establishing new international and regional groupings to more accurately reflect global realities and global power paradigm shifts.

South Africa has emerged as a founding member of the AU and has worked towards establishing and strengthening democratic structures within that


It has diversified and intensified its international diplomatic interaction – evident through its back-to-back tenures in the UNSC, its contention for leadership positions with the AU following its founding contributions to the organization and the support it has lent to increase Africa’s profile at the UN, the UNSC and in global economic governance institutions. It continuously expresses the need for and its support to global reform and the agreed African position – the Ezulwini Consensus – on reform of the UNSC.

Uncertain as the results of these forces remain within IR, it is evident that South

African diplomacy remains committed to continue with this debate, to continue the democratization of the international system towards equitable global governance, despite continued international resistance against such effort.

One could thus safely conclude that South Africa has maintained a reformist trajectory within IR as far as expressing the need for global governance to adapt to a changing IR environment.

Moreover, South Africa has utilised its tenures at the UNSC to propagate reform of the UNSC and to create closer working arrangements between the UNSC, the UN, the AU and the AUPSC, to name some achievements.

Central to this international diplomatic reform focus, South African post-1994 diplomacy has endeavoured to place Africa at the centre of international peace and security deliberations, more so by advocating a deepening of international coordination aimed at making the UNSC more responsive to conflict prevention and peace building, peace-keeping and post-conflict reconstruction and maintenance of


Its central role as a founding member of the AU, its involvement in the development of AU structures and diplomatically immersing itself in the layered development of new and re-emerging regional governance organs as a result of more pronounced multi-polarity in the international system following the end of the US-Russia Cold

War paradigm, has put South Africa on the world stage, not only as a responsive international diplomatic actor, but also as one that should be recognized as a espouser of transformative diplomacy and seeker of collective international action aimed at a democratization of international governance and reform of the UNSC towards representativeness and rule based behaviour.

The task would be complete once South Africa and Africa, currently in terms of the

Ezulwini Consensus, or in terms of a future unified African foreign policy environment and internationally re-negotiated UNSC structure, could amongst nations, or as representative within a future holistic international whole, take its place as a fully fledged permanent member of the UNSC.


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As this study has re-confirmed, tumultuous events primarily driven by interests, war and a diplomacy in service of these have shaped the UNSC. As a result, preventing further great European wars that carry with them the resultant conflagration on a global scale has been the prime mandate of the UNSC. History has also shown that this mandate has been met with mixed results and still mainly serves the interests of the P5. Globalization, the evolution of international diplomacy in both conduct and in ideas, thus shaping an international community that is continuously forging an expanding body of international law and values (also in conflict) as a means to face up to persistent, new and unexpected challenges presented to humankind.

In this respect it has been argued that the UNSC has not evolved in tandem with other institutions of international society, nor has it adapted to reflect the relevance

of an expanded UN membership.

In response, however, there is enough evidence to suggest that the pressure to adapt to new realities and the constant nature of the international debate to align IR behaviour to a rules and norms based paradigm in IR has an influence on the

UNSC and its reaction to crisis and conflict that are of international concern. In as much as the all-powerful P-5 – in terms of their veto – could act with their own interests in mind, the power of the veto does have a moderating influence on the urge to act powerfully and with military might in instances where interest do nor converge. In addition, and more important for the purposes of this study, it has been shown that international calls on the periphery and by non-permanent members within the UNSC are having some effect on the manner in which the

UNSC would act and the P-5 would behave in response to conflict and in support of post-conflict reconstruction and peace keeping. Although observers ascribe increased caution from the P-5 to act unilaterally to changes in the IR environment itself, in particular aligned to the re-emergence of recently submerged powers, or to the emergence of new entities – both in the form of states or alliances of states – which have the political-economic power to influence or resist hegemonic behaviour internationally and regionally, the fact of the matter is that new regional alliances and more efficient organization and structures at regional levels in support of the

UNSC and its mandate do have a tempering effect on unilateral UNSC action. It is, furthermore, to be expected that with such organizational achievement a boldness would also emerge providing purpose to the international movement calling for the

UNSC to reflect the expanded and wider representative membership of the UN. As a result changes are already reflected in the working methods of the UNSC and it should be expected that even closer coordination and consultation between the

UNSC and other UN bodies and regional constructs would logically have to follow.

The UNSC, one could safely say, in this scenario is not representative of having the sole power to act within its mandate. Its role is being tempered, not only by change in the international environment, but also by the actions of the members of the UN and would, in time, need to more regularly respond to the issues put forward by the continued debate on reform of the UNSC.

It has been argued that, as a result of research evidence, the UNSC is unlikely to change within the near future. This argument is based on the entrenched nature of the veto in the UNSC, the continued dominance of the political and economic


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to change it for the better. change the UNSC, support the analogy. international environment by the P-5 and the expectance that this veto will continue to serve the interests of the P-5, even taking into consideration the current global economic shifts. It is not in the current interest of any of the P-5 members to change the prevailing construct. In this instance, Charter provisions in order to

Evidence has been provided though showing that there have been significant developments related to the debate on reform of the UNSC and in the development of structures in support of this debate by those calling for change to the UNSC. It is in this area, the debate and the nature of the debate itself, the evolving influence of the nature of the state, regionalism, the ideas about international governance, the structures that are being established in support of these developments and their influence on international governance that much more research needs to be done in order to effectively explain what is happening with the international system and how

Apart from, or rather the catalyst, for persistent calls for global governance reform, espoused by South Africa as well, is this lingering domination of the international system by the US, the UK, France, Russia and China, locked into the construct of the UN’s most powerful body, the UNSC, remaining as it was envisaged by its founders during WWII. The P-5 and their interests, even within a currently changing world, are still served by this permanent construct and the veto they carry, unequal to the ambitions, the contributions, the realistic and fair needs and the equal the IR environment and the UN Charter. This lingering configuration, though keeping global war at the scale last seen in WWII at bay, has not been successful though at preventing conflict at a global scale. Conflict globally, and particularly in

Africa, is still a recurring phenomenon rooted in a continued seeking of dominance as well as dominant powers returning to unfinished business and incomplete peace and conflicts in IR. The resultant inability for the UNSC in its current configuration to produce consistent and rules- based behaviour, decisionmaking and implementation of decisions at the highest level of the UN, consistently verging on indecision and a failure to bring lasting solutions to persistent crises in international peace and security continue to act as a motivation to states, like

South Africa, to call for change. The most ardent underwriter of the seemingly unending debate on reform of the UNSC is exactly this inconsistency and inability to forge consistent consensus in the UNSC, including agreement on reform to the


For these reasons the debate on reform of the UNSC exists.

The main contenders in advocating reform and who have taken positions on such reform of the UNSC in order to reflect the above ideal are the African bloc (through its Ezulwini Consensus), the G-4 (Brazil, Germany, India and Japan) and the UfC


The current status of the debate on UNSC reform also supports the view that the

UNSC is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. Most of the debate linked to reform of the UNSC is taking place within the General Assembly of the UN. The

General Assembly cannot take binding decisions on matters pertaining to the amendment of the UN Charter governing the rules and structure of the UNSC, unless a proposal in this regard is supported by two-thirds of the General Assembly


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and all members of the Security Council. The current debate is empty of consensus and it is still doubtful that the required majority vote would be obtained as regards a binding Security Council reform package. The GA debate on UNSC reform should thus be seen as mainly contributing to UNSC behaviour endeavour, process and action aimed at swaying UNSC behaviour and garnering support for the UNSC to act normatively and within the rules prescribed by international law.

Inequalities within and between states, as South Africa is discovering, also add seemingly consistent hurdles and brakes to the search for reform, consensus and the final construction of a predictable, principled, law abiding, integrated and equal

IR society and community.

Nevertheless, whilst most of UNSC deliberations involve Africa; whilst the nature of

UNSC resolutions is concerned with the prevention and resolution of conflict and whilst the pursuit of peace requires constant attention and needs to be underpinned by governance structures and a behaviour reflecting a culture of peace, countries mostly affected by conflict do not have a direct insight nor influence or voice in the working of the UNSC.

This international relations reality informs Africa’s common position on reform of the

UNSC, as it has been embodied within the Ezulwini Consensus, calling for two permanent African seats endowed with full veto powers within a restructured UNSC.

It is also clear that consensus and coherence in foreign policy, as far as Africa is concerned, would be an important factor in taking the African position forward and to overcome restrictions bearing on African peace and security matters.

This would clearly be a challenging project and journey also considering that not only at the international level, but also at regional and national levels there is no unity on international issues. A factor that would, e.g. rule out UN agreement to proposals calling for a continental or rotational veto attached to permanent or nonpermanent membership of the UNSC.

Africa is also facing significant constraints bearing on its own independent position in international relations. In its attempts to claim its full international sovereignty as the AU it is at the same time exposed to the interests of external actors with considerable influence in terms of financing the AU. In the AU’s logical extension from an independent foreign policy platform onto the international stage and permanently into the UNSC, Africa’s exposure to considerable development aid, which comes with additional international rent holding and influence, could well be argued to be an additional constraint.

This logic is embedded in the concept “African Solutions to African Problems”.

As a recap in this context it is apt to again refer to South African propagation of such a reform process that would enhance national ownership of conflict resolution as for example explained by its participation in the African Perspectives on Security

Sector Reform, High-level Forum in New York on 14 May 2010.

The outcome of this dialogue clearly reflects some aspects, including the fact that there is yet no agreement on exactly what the concept “national ownership” of any security sector reform process should entail, due to potential political ownership of such and, secondly, that donors and national actors do not have the same


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priorities, which one could also read as not having the same interests though such interests would be projected in involvement in Africa and seek to influence or adapt

This dialogue has already concluded with a strong call for regional participation in international security reform. This clearly demonstrates the dynamic between

States and national interests on the one hand and the international community and its priorities on the other. Africa has placed itself firmly within this category with the with the AU Ezulwini Consensus on reform of the UNSC.

Africa’s constant and consistent contribution to conflict resolution, peace-building and peace keeping in support of the UNSC is an issue that needs far more attention. This is crucial, not only in terms of solidifying support for and convincing the international community of Africa’s claims to permanent and veto presence in the UNSC, but it is ever even more urgent considering the recurrent nature of conflict in Africa. The historical, theoretical and philosophical, structural innovations, and nature and behaviour of African society, both in its divergence from and convergence with international relations fluctuations need further and deeper examination in order to identify the contributions and the shortfalls of African solutions to peace and security in all its forms. Reaching general agreement on the what that needs to be achieved, as the Ezulwini Consensus shows, is not Africa’s challenge. It is the details on the how and implementation of such solutions in a sustainable manner that provide the conundrum. This certainly is not a new challenge since it is a ‘natural’ problem constantly faced by the international community at large. However, Africa’s common position on reform of the UNSC is, due to the Ezulwini Consensus addressing the core of the construct that entrenches the UNSC mandate, is the clearest indication yet that the impetus for change, the ideas and innovation addressing this need for change and the instigation of the effort required to counter recurrent and the IR environment’s tendency towards


In terms of its official position on UNSC reform, South Africa subscribes to the

African Common Position as formulated in the AU Ezulwini Consensus. Despite the latter being adopted by the AU during 2005, actual .African consensus seems to be an illusion for the time being, as the policy framework has not identified which

African states should take up permanent positions on behalf of the continent. The

Ezulwini consensus is very important though since for negotiations to start or to continue the talking of a position is fundamental to the process. Ezulwini still is the only formal continental position on proposed reform of the UNSC. The country has also pronounced itself ready to assume such a seat in a transformed

Council, even though Africa has not collectively endorsed (a) candidate(s). Further study of African and international dynamics and their influence on the potential to forge a common African foreign policy that would logically conclude in an African decision on its specific candidates for UNSC permanent representation need to be undertaken. Such investigations would also assist in assessing the long term viability of the Ezulwini Consensus, Africa’s expected success in its claim to become a viable permanent member of the UNSC and will provide a clearer picture of the technical impact of South Africa’s diplomacy on IR Practice and the UNSC. A clearer insight is also required, particularly by civil society, into the realpolitik dynamics and multilateral negotiations, both in content and process of the debate on reform of the UNSC. Additional studies which reflect on the real experiences


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and contributions of diplomats, professional and political, in this regard would go a long way in adding lucidity to the challenges presented to reform of the UNSC.

South Africa diplomatic interventions and contributions at the UN and UNSC need closer analysis – something this study has not done. In similar vein does the interaction between the various interest groupings and platforms at the UN of those calling for change to the UNSC. This would provide a deeper understanding of the motives and objectives behind the debate on UNSC reform than only the pronouncements that had been made by high level African and South African diplomatic and political practitioners. Utilizing the latter as a point of departure a more comprehensive and detailed study should be made of the diplomatic motivations, policy projections and African theories and values that subscribe to reform of international governance and whether these would support or hinder progress, if any.

South Africa’s diplomatic positioning and contributions in this regard since 1994 have largely assumed a structural approach by calling for change in the contributions to and participation in global governance.

As concerns the UNSC, the South African diplomatic agenda has targeted the ingrained hegemony of the Council’s permanent core, the Permanent Five, and

In the interim, South Africa is using strategic diplomatic manoeuvres, at the regional as well as global level, to steer the debate on UNSC reform and to lobby for its own permanent inclusion. As a broad international strategy, South Africa insists that multilateralism and a strengthening of the international participation of the so-called

South in the international system remains the only way to ensure a more equitable global system. South African diplomacy is a clear example of how South Africa is bridging itself across the accepted international divides of North-South and ideologically and theoretically across the theoretical IR spectrum. This South

African call for change does not, it seems, imply a revolutionary overhaul of international systems, but it seems to primarily seek its structures to allow broader and more effective international representation within international governance structures that would also reflect a change in behaviour in international governance, together with more cooperation, internationally, in a search for a more holistic (or Ubuntu) approach to international relations. In this regard, the significance of Ubuntu, since it is regularly referred to by South African political leaders need to be clarified by researchers. Ubuntu, if it shows not to significantly differ from human rights and humanitarian needs, would need to be properly codified and be provided with an analytical base in support of African claims to its acknowledgement as a tool or frame of reference for international governance. Only then would it provide a human sciences and legal impetus to the debate and to the understanding and prediction of IR developments.

This South African diplomatic positioning, understandably, comes naturally. South

Africa’s current position is aligned to an African consensus on UNSC reform because it is from Africa, as a member of the AU and from the South as a member of the UN where it foremost would, when the UNSC changes again, have to draw enough voting support for its own ambitions to enter the UNSC as a fully fledged permanent member with all the associated powers. Although the interests of states will weigh heavily on choices made in these regards, consensus support, which is


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and imperative for legitimacy within the multilateral system in operation, should have the most important over-arching bearing on garnering support for South

To repeat, South Africa acknowledges, through its diplomacy, that the IR environment is facing inevitable change, for various reasons of which an altering international power relationship and an increasing deepening of globalization and

It has expanded its membership to international institutions and new multilateral structures. It has aligned itself more closely, although and expectedly so not without controversy, to emerging influential international power players.

It has diplomatically worked to focus the G-8 and other forums of global governance

Its post-1994 governments have sought international partners in efforts to strengthen and deepen regional international structures and cooperation and have worked towards establishing new international and regional groupings to more accurately reflect global realities and global power paradigm shifts.

South Africa has emerged as a founding member of the AU and has worked towards establishing and strengthening democratic structures within that


It has diversified and intensified its international diplomatic interaction – evident through its back-to-back tenures in the UNSC, its contention for leadership positions with the AU following its founding contributions to the organization and the support it has lent to increase Africa’s profile at the UN, the UNSC and in global economic governance institutions. It continuously expresses the need for and its support to global reform and the agreed African position – the Ezulwini Consensus – on reform of the UNSC.

Central to this international diplomatic reform focus, South African post-1994 diplomacy has endeavoured to place Africa at the centre of international peace and security deliberations, more so by advocating a deepening of international coordination aimed at making the UNSC more responsive to conflict prevention and peace building, peace-keeping and post-conflict reconstruction and maintenance of


Moreover, South Africa has utilised its tenures at the UNSC to propagate reform of the UNSC and to create closer working arrangements between the UNSC, the

UNGA, and the AUPSC to name some achievements. It, furthermore, has supported calls and the implementation of changes to the working methods of the

UNSC, particularly as regards advocating more regular open debates on UNSC issues, thus providing a broader and more relevant platform for inputs and reporting to the UNSC on issues that require its attention. It has also sought to strengthen the work of the UNHRC and the ECOSOC, thus enhancing the relevance of these democratic institutions in their work as organs of the UN and the links they provide to the peace and security mandate of the UNSC.

Uncertain as the results of these forces remain within IR, it is evident that South

African diplomacy remains committed to continue with this debate, to continue the


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democratization of the international system towards equitable global governance, despite continued international resistance against such effort.

One could thus safely conclude that South Africa has maintained reformist trajectory within IR as far as expressing the need for global governance to adapt to a changing IR environment.

DIRCO has and is constantly adapting to the international multilateral diplomatic environment, but the main questions that remain are whether South Africa would succeed in its views on UNSC reform; whether Africa would be able to forge a common foreign policy in the future and agree on its permanent members in the future; whether South Africa would ultimately receive Africa’s approval as its permanent member when the time comes and, whether the expected progression in competition between states versus integration on the continent, would serve South

Africa’s interests and ambitions in these regards.

It is clear that the United Nations Security Council, as highest custodian of peace and security in the international community, is subject to change in the international environment, but is in itself not inclined to, nor likely, to change in the near future. This is because its structure is entrenched in international law, which also upholds the pre-eminence of state sovereignty in the prevailing international relations environment. This environment is, therefore, subject to the competitive pursuit of state interests and influenced by power relations, as Realists contend.

In general it must again be noted that the 2005 World Summit provided a once-in-ageneration opportunity for the world to revitalize the UN and to take global action on threats that require global solutions. This summit raised expectations of imminent reform to the UNSC’s exclusive arena of global authority. However, no majority decision, not to mention even consensus could be reached on any proposals put forward for reform of the UNSC. This is still the case ever since.

Nevertheless, there is a continued debate and review of proposals by the various groupings as have been covered in this study.

There is a need to bring this debate, the exchanges of ideas and proposals and updated resolutions in this regard into an environment and through publication (a

UNSC reform barometer) singly dedicated to the international debate on UNSC reform. This would make it easier, and relevant, to researchers, policy makers, media and the public to follow and keep abreast of this voluminous and complex debate. An international civil society complex dedicated to the review and providing considered consensus proposals gathering in tandem with the annual UNGA debate should be enhanced. For Africa in particular a UNSC reform barometer or an international governance reform barometer should be advocated as part of social, cultural and history studies at schools. In other words, a future awareness of international studies should be built and could be linked, e.g. to proposed ethical studies at schools and further learning institutions.

The Ezulwini Consensus represents one of a number of proposals towards reform of the UNSC. In itself it is incomplete in that it does not provide criteria for qualification as permanent member of the UNSC and does not put forward the

African candidates for the two proposed African seats in the UNSC. Just as the debate on reform of the UNSC is still a process in progress, the Ezulwini


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Consensus will form part of a larger international consensus that still needs to be finalized. Considering calls for flexible negotiations with regard to reform of the

UNSC, inevitably due to the variety of proposals that are on the table and the fluid nature of IR, an intractable impasse could well be foreseen unless certain fundamental issues would form part of a review debate.

These would include addressing the circumstances under which the veto could be utilized, the number and continental, or regional, representation by the veto and equitable international representation. Certainly, effective decision making should not be hampered by an enlarged UNSC. Consideration would have to be given to applying democratic majority vote, or the two third majority principle decision making in the UNSC. Provision for forged consensus, in the event of intractable indecision – such as the case with Syria at the moment – based upon referral to an appropriate court of justice and appeal on international law and practice should also

Certainly, if the opportunity of this debate is not utilized to deepen international cooperation at the level of the UNSC and thereby take the UN and the UNSC to a higher, more complete level, of an international community and society, the debate will remain stuck in the current IR construct where the search for a balance of the power of and between states and their interests internationally, will remain an imbalance. Africa’s call for two permanent seats, including a veto, and the right to choose its own candidates in fact, at closer scrutiny, could well provide a step in this direction. In other words, Africa would have two permanent seats, but the incumbents could be rotated based on an African vote in this regard at certain intervals. Africa needs to challenge this possibility by forging a common foreign policy, particularly in light of the reality that African states’ interests are also in competition with each other and would naturally work against consensus.

Further African integration and a continued escalation of the profile of Africa in its international interaction, particularly at the UN, would contribute to forging a new international orientation. South Africa’s contribution in these regards, with particular focus on the full return of South Africa to the international community post-1994 should add to perspectives and arguments related to this debate.

South African diplomacy, South African academia and civil society at large should continue to bring its influence to bear on this debate. They should continue to address this issue at every opportunity, not only at the UN, and must contribute through debate, gathering and discussions, publication, the media and further research on diplomatic theory, law and structure to ideas and proposals.

If it is accepted that reform of international governance and the UNSC is predestined by the current changes in the IR environment and an inevitable deepening and further integration of international society, South Africa’s diplomacy should also become even more multilateral in its nature and structure. Training for placement at regional and UN bodies should be a priority. This should be inclusive to South African institutional support in training and education that is being extended to African candidates as well. The quality of those who serve in the structures of the AU would determine the success of Africa’s envisioned recognition of its rightful place amongst the permanent members of the UNSC South Africa should not shy away from the advantages provided by its current dominant economy on the African continent. This natural positioning of South Africa on the


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African continent is one that should continue to work towards supporting investment and trade into and on the continent, thereby contributing to African support for

African development. The AU is not only a body working for African political unity, but has at its heart also African economic unity. Successful integration in this regard would form the building blocks of its international independence as far as recognition as a fully fledged member of the UNSC is concerned. It is crucial that

South Africa and Africa develop capacity at all levels to address the demands carried by the multilateral political, economic and social environments. This would require adding capacity at civil service levels, at institutions, at academic and corporate levels, at the AU and international legal levels.

Finally, there is not as yet a complete international system that can act as a world government and that could govern such a relationship. A global government is an ideal and does not reflect, or conform to current or a foreseeable future IR reality.

South Africa though, acknowledges the important role that diplomacy can offer in the international journey towards the above.

Diplomacy is, after all, a continuum of continuous mediation through the expression of structure, ideas and values and of interests in convergence with or in divergence from crises in international association as manifested by alienation in relations.

Multilateralism versus a UNSC balancing of power by states through the interests of states is responsible for much, if not most, of the international discourse on matters of peace and security. Consequently, it stands that in the search for a balance in international behaviour based on the theories, laws, values and interests of these spheres and their international societies, diplomacy could and should provide the bridges and negotiate the alienation between these forces towards an internationally deeper reconciliation reflected in a broader international democracy underpinned by the its natural entrenched liberal values guarded by a commensurate rule of law.

Diplomacy can and is making the difference in this mediation, creating convergence, also through the bridging between divergences, in the international debate on reform of the UNSC.

If the diplomatic society recognize amongst each other the need, as an international collective, and could contribute to a transformed UNSC and UN that would provide the platform for an international security system that shares the kind of a

Cosmopolitan Identity that identifies all as members of a single community of nations, the achievement of a practice of holism would indeed appear in order to support and confirm needed change to the structure of the UNSC that would provide a democratic, but effective, peace and security mandate to an international community of people as an international citizenry.

Only recognition and admittance at all these levels of the need to change the UNSC could provide a final impetus for the restructuring of the UNSC. This would most certainly not occur before and not unless UN consensus is reached on this issue and the current P-5 could be persuaded, either by means of negotiations, convergence of world views, or forced by reality to accede to a change in the

Charter of the United Nations. In the absence of the above the UNSC should not


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be expected to change soon in order to accommodate a structure that would reflect a true democratic order of the international community.

At the level of IR practice, however, the requirement is that there should be recognition by all members of the UN and the UNSC that there is a need for reform of the UNSC and that an international consensus should be reached in this regard.

This debate, to which South Africa sees itself as a responsible international practitioner and member of the UN, has developed to the extent that it might become a permanent entry on the UN agenda. South Africa, on the strength of available evidence is set to maintain momentum in its diplomatic calls for reform of the UNSC. This diplomacy will face constant hurdles and criticism and rejection and will require stamina, consistent diplomacy and foreign policy projection in line with the expressed enshrined democratic, human rights and humanitarian principles of its transformation and its constitution. Africa would have to follow suit.

It is not far-fetched to argue that South African diplomacy is an extension of the fact that engagement and not isolation or disengagement triumphed in the concluding phases of its own political and structural transformation from Apartheid to a full democracy. Its international diplomacy also reflects this characteristic in that it engages not in a non-aligned manner across international divides, but involves itself construction of new international cooperative arrangements and in the governance of existing institutions and bodies fully aligned with the traditional Breton Woods powers. It does not align itself completely with entrenched power constructs in the international system, but does not disengage on the basis of an ideological theoretical international posture. At the same time it does not isolate itself from new and emerging international groupings and distance itself from structures that reflect a changing international environment. IBSA and BRICS are perhaps the most telling such engagements currently, and has not gone unnoticed or void of criticism from the established international interests reflected in the UNSC position of the P-

3, or of the traditionally western international power construct to which South Africa is also closely linked historically and through its South Africa – EU partnership.

South Africa will continue to be recognized as a post-1994 contributor to international governance. Its election to ECOSOC following the end of its second term as non-permanent member of the UNSC at the end of 2012 is further evidence of this recognition. Although the latter could be seen as further underwriting South Africa’s stance and expected contribution to international management normally expected from a fully fledged UN member, it should be expected that its diplomats would continue, through this body, to reflect on the broader social and economic issues linked to peace and security which in any event have a bearing upon the mandate of the UNSC and on stability in Africa.


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