Finding our moral voice
SOUTH Africa is looking to find its moral voice in the world again, and to do so it needs to capitalise on the opportunity of sitting on the UN Security Council over the next two years.
This is our opportunity to shine a light on issues that need addressing in international peace and security, and move the big powers to address the forgotten and intractable conflicts.
It is our chance to really criticise the unilateral moves of the US and insist on a collective approach to security issues.
While we cannot overestimate either our influence or importance on the world stage, South Africa’s voice does count for something and we will be there representing the continent.
We therefore have a moral obligation to set the agenda at least in terms of resolving conflicts on the continent, particularly in South Sudan, the CAR, Burundi and the DRC.
The days of indifference must end and the world must realise that continued instability and bloodletting in Africa will have consequences for the developed world.
We had laudable goals during our last two stints as a non-permanent member of the UNSC, both times championing a UN resolution that called for greater co-operation between the UNSC and the AU Peace and Security Council. But this time our contribution must go deeper into rallying support for the tangible resolution of conflicts as a matter of urgency.
The level of our determination on the issue of conflict resolution will work towards regaining our moral stature.
OUR presence on the UNSC is not only to address African priorities, but to weigh in on other international issues that threaten peace and security.
In keeping with our broader foreign policy agenda, we need to push for action to protect civilians in Gaza who are being massacred by Israeli security forces, and call for the protection of medical personnel who are attending to the wounded. If we want to give a voice to the voiceless, this is our opportunity to do so.
All the indicators suggest that the US will opt for a unilateral military intervention in Iran, and the rest of the UNSC will be expected to act against such unilateralism, which would have destabilising consequences for peace and security. We need to be prepared for such a fight.
It is time for our Department of International Relations and Co-operation to make us proud and represent the values and principles that Madiba stood for when he was the captain of our ship.