South Africa was one of the 51 founding member of the United Nations in 1945. Since its inception in 1945, UN membership has grown to 192 States. The United Nations General Assembly on 12 November 1974 suspended South Africa from participating in its work, due to international opposition to the policy of apartheid. South Africa was re-admitted to the UN in 1994 following its transition into a democracy. Since 1994 the democratically elected government has pursued a foreign policy based on the centrality of the UN in the multilateral system.
Twelve years after re-admittance to the UN, South Africa was honoured to be endorsed by the African Union (AU) and subsequently elected with an overwhelming majority to serve as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council during the period 2007-2008. During its tenure as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), South Africa promoted the African Agenda namely peace, security and development. South Africa is honoured to once again serve as a non-permanent member for the period 2011-2012.
The United Nations plays an indispensable, role in addressing contemporary and future global challenges. In this regard, the primary role of the United Nations is to maintain international peace and security, promote economic development as well as to promote and protect human rights.
South Africa is faithful to the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations Charter. It strongly advocates rules-based multilateralism. In pursuance of this objective, South Africa is an active participant in the main deliberative and subsidiary bodies of the United Nations, i.e. the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the Security Council, Peace Building Commission (PBC) as well as the Human Rights Council.
South Africa is committed to promoting and achieving its vision of an African Continent, which is prosperous, peaceful, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and united, and which contributes to a world that is just and equitable through effective multilateralism at the sub-regional (SADC), regional (AU) and global level (UN).
Statement by Ambassador Jerry Matjila, Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Africa to the United Nations, at the United Nations Security Council Open Debate in Connection with the Agenda Item “The Situation in the Middle East, Including the Palestinian Question,” New York, 17 January 2017
Statement by Mr. Mahlatse Mminele, Deputy Permanent Representative and Chargé D’Affaires of the Republic of South Africa to the United Nations at the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on “Conflict Prevention and Sustaining Peace”, in Connection with the Agenda Item “Maintenance of International Peace and Security”, New York, 10 January 2017
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President Jacob Zuma arrives in New York for the 71st United Nations General Assembly
18 September 2016
President Jacob Zuma has arrived in New York in the United States to attend the General Debate of the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA71), under the theme: “The Sustainable Development Goals: A universal push to transform our world.”
The General Debate presents an opportunity for member states to take stock of the effectiveness of the United Nations, and it is expected that member states will use the General Debate to chart a way forward to improve the organisation’s efficiency and relevance by making it more democratic, responsive and transparent.
Deliberations are expected to focus on UN reform, including on the revitalisation of the UNGA; improvement of the work of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC); and most importantly, the substantive reform of the UN Security Council (UNSC) to expand its membership in both the permanent and non-permanent categories. Read more.
President Jacob Zuma and Mrs. Bongi Zuma arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport via South African Airways on 17 September 2016. They were met by South African Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Mninwa Mahlangu (left), and South African Military Adviser, General Mongenzi Kweta. President Jacob Zuma is attending the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly. View more photographs.
His Excellency Ambassador Jerry Matthews Matjila Presents Credentials to United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon
The new Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations, His Excellency Ambassador Jerry Matthews Matjila, presented his credentials to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 5 July 2016. Read more.
Visit to the Permanent Mission by the National High School Model United Nations Delegation
3 March 2016
The National High School Model United Nations (NHSMUN) was founded in 1975 and has continued uninterrupted for over 40 years. The conference takes place at the United Nations Headquarters and at the New York Hilton Hotel. Currently the largest high school Model UN conference in the world, NHSMUN hosts participants from approximately 40 different countries each year.
Secretary-General appoints Jeremiah Nyamane Kingsley Mamabolo of South Africa as Deputy Joint Special Representative for Darfur Hybrid Operation
New York, 2 March 2016
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma announced today the appointment of Jeremiah Nyamane Kingsley Mamabolo of South Africa as Deputy Joint Special Representative for the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). Read more.
Statement by H.E. Mr Luwellyn Landers, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa, at the Handover Ceremony of the Chairmanship of the Group of 77
12 January 2016
It is an honour that I address you on the occasion of the conclusion of South Africa’s Chairing of the Group of 77 and China. I wish to convey my Government’s sincere gratitude to all Members of the Group for the support, guidance and assistance accorded to our delegation during our tenure.
I would like to take this opportunity to pay a special tribute to the G77 Secretariat for its outstanding support and guidance. Their unwavering support throughout the year was vital to the successful work of the Group. Read full statement.
President Zuma to lead the South African delegation to the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly
22 September 2015
His Excellency President Jacob Zuma will lead a South African delegation to the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA70) under the theme: “The United Nations at 70 – the road ahead for peace, security and human rights.” Read full media statement.
President Jacob Zuma addressing the 70th session of United Nations General Assembly.
Photo Credit: DIRCO.
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Take Action! Inspire Change
Every year on 18 July — the day Nelson Mandela was born — the UN joins a call by the Nelson Mandela Foundation to devote 67 minutes of time to helping others, as a way to mark Nelson Mandela International Day.
For 67 years Nelson Mandela devoted his life to the service of humanity — as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, an international peacemaker and the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa.
How the Day came about
In November 2009, the UN General Assembly declared 18 July "Nelson Mandela International Day" in recognition of the former South African President’s contribution to the culture of peace and freedom.
General Assembly resolution A/RES/64/13 recognizes Nelson Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity, in the fields of conflict resolution, race relations, the promotion and protection of human rights, reconciliation, gender equality and the rights of children and other vulnerable groups, as well as the upliftment of poor and underdeveloped communities. It acknowledges his contribution to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world. More information.
South Africa has assumed the Chair of the Group of 77
Photo Credit: DIRCO
Deputy Minister Luwellyn Landers at the ceremony during which SA took over from Bolivia as Chair of the G77+China. The G77+China is the largest grouping of developing nations in the UN system and plays a leading role in advancing the common interests and aspirations of its member states.
Holidays Observed (2015)
|Thursday, 1 January||New Year's Day|
|Monday, 16 February||President's Day|
|Friday, 3 April||Good Friday|
|Monday, 6 April||Family Day (Easter Monday)|
|Monday, 25 May||Memorial Day|
|Friday, 3 July||U.S. Independence Day|
|Friday, 17 July||Eid al-Fitr|
|Monday, 7 September||Labour Day|
|Thursday, 24 September||Heritage Day|
|Monday, 12 October||Columbus Day|
|Thursday, 26 November||Thanksgiving Day|
|Friday, 25 December||Christmas Day|
South Africa elected to the ECOSOC
9 November 2012
Pretoria - South Africa was yesterday, the 8th of November 2012, overwhelmingly elected by the Members of the UN General Assembly to the 47-Member Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. ECOSOC is one of the Principal Organs of the United Nations alongside the Security Council and General Assembly. South Africa finishes its two-year non-renewable, non-permanent membership of the Security Council on 31st December 2012 and immediately assumes the membership of ECOSOC on the 1st January 2013. South Africa last served in ECOSOC in 2004 to 2006. Read full media statement.
Celebrating South Africa's Progressive Role at the United Nations