South Africa as a leading diplomatic member of the international community and a nation with a globally respected culture of vibrant parliamentary debate and activity, has significant diplomatic and parliamentary relations with other nations and international organisations. This section covers South Africa’s diplomatic and parliamentary relations in general with a specific focus on the African Union and the United Nations.
In addition to the DFA’s missions’ bilateral focus it also has a strong multilateral focus. This includes diplomatic missions to the United Nations and its agencies in New York, Geneva, Washington D.C., Vienna, Addis Ababa and Rome. These are large missions and specifically focused on representing South Africa at these institutions.
The United Nations mission in South Africa represents the organization locally. A Resident Representative, who coordinates the development activities of the United Nations system in South Africa, heads its country office.
South Africa was one of the Founder Members of the UN Charter. Due to the racist policies of the Apartheid regime, South Africa was denied voting rights in the General Assembly from 1970 to 1994, when a democratic government was finally elected. Since then it has fully participated in and contributed to international organisations, treaties and conventions concerned with global policies. It has played an active role in several General Assembly working groups tasked within the appraisal of UN reforms, the restructuring of the Security Council, as well as social, economic and human rights related issues.
South Africa’s Diplomatic Relations with theAU
The South Africa mission in Addis Ababa represents the country at the AU. The Ambassador represents South Africa at the AU’s Permanent Representatives’ Committee. The Permanent Representatives Committee is charged with the responsibility of preparing the work of the Executive Council. The mission is also charged with the task of working with the other organs of the AU based in Addis Ababa.
The South African Parliament has also been extremely active in the organization of the Pan African Parliament. Some of Parliament’s senior officials including the Deputy Secretary and former Assistant Secretary together with a significant compliment of seconded staff, in many ways co-ordinated the PAP events at Gallagher Estate.