Issue 409 | 17 January 2020
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On 15 January 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa undertook a Working Visit to Maputo, Mozambique, to attend the inauguration of President-elect Filipe Nyusi.
Mozambique held presidential, legislative and provincial elections on 15 October 2019.

President-elect Nyusi was declared the winner of the general election and will as a result serve a second term in office.

South Africa and Mozambique enjoy cordial bilateral relations, underpinned by strong historical and political bonds that date back to the era of the liberation struggle. The relationship is informed by historical, geographical as well as cultural affinities between the people of the two countries.

“President Ramaphosa said he was looking forward to working with President Nyusi as the two neighbouring countries sought to enhance conditions for increased levels of domestic and foreign investment aimed at economic growth, the reduction of inequality and the eradication of poverty,” The Presidency said in a statement.

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has extended condolences to the Sultanate of Oman, following the death of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has, on behalf of the Government and people of South Africa, extended condolences to the Government and people of the Sultanate of Oman, following the passing of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said on 10 January 2020.

President Ramaphosa stated that Sultan Qaboos would be remembered for the creation, 49 years ago, of a united, modern, progressive and prosperous Oman, which South Africa regards as a key international and regional partner. South Africa and Oman established diplomatic relations in October 1995. During the last 25 years, several high-level visits between the two countries have taken place, including two state visits by the late President Nelson Mandela in 1999 and 2004.

The South Africa-Oman Partnership Forum has become the main vehicle to drive relations between the two countries in various areas of cooperation, including trade and investment, agriculture and higher education.

Several bilateral agreements have also been concluded, including a Memorandum of Understanding on Military Cooperation and a Trade Cooperation Agreement. As such, trade has increased dramatically since the conclusion of this agreement in 2006, reaching a record high in 2018 of R18,3 billion. In this regard, President Ramaphosa hailed His Majesty Sultan Qaboos for the support given to South Africa in terms of its own political and economic development priorities.

President Ramaphosa also paid tribute to the important and positive role that Oman has played in the Middle East under the leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, as a regional mediator.
South Africa and Ethiopia have signed an agreement on the waiver of visa requirements for holders of diplomatic or official/service passports.
This, President Cyril Ramaphosa and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali said in a joint communiqué, was expected to ease the travel of officials, which would contribute to further strengthening bilateral relations.

The signing of the agreement emanates from the Official Visit by Prime Minister Ali to South Africa recently. The two-day visit was the first State level exchange of visits between the two countries.

Prime Minister Ali was also a guest at the 108th anniversary of the founding of the African National Congress on 11 January 2020.

President Ramaphosa was accompanied by the Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation; Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development; State Security; Home Affairs; Trade, Industry and Competition; Higher Education, Science and Technology; and for the signing ceremony, the Minister of Health and the Minister of Tourism.

Prime Minister Ali was accompanied by the Ministers of Social and Labour Affairs, Mines and Petroleum and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation in the Field of Tourism. The two heads of state anticipate that the MoU will be key to the creation of employment opportunities, especially for the youth.

South Africa and Ethiopia also signed a Memorandum on Cooperation in the Field of Health.

“The memorandum will be important in providing high-quality health services for the citizens of their respective countries, especially the young and the elderly,” read the communiqué.

Strengthening trade relations

On matters of trade, the principals welcomed the presence of South African companies and business entities in Ethiopia, including investment and trade links, and it was agreed to enhance bilateral investments between the two countries.

At the same time, the principals affirmed their commitment to expanding cooperation in trade and investment between business entities in South Africa and Ethiopia, as well as agreeing to cooperate in the field of small and medium enterprises due to their important role in job creation.

“There was also agreement to strengthen cooperation in the area of mining, deep mining and mineral beneficiation to strengthen agricultural cooperation so as to enhance food security and to work towards addressing skills development through the exchange of best practices, among others,” the communique said.


President Ramaphosa and Prime Minister Ali discussed the issue of Ethiopians residing in South Africa and agreed that the two countries needed to cooperate on this matter.

The two leaders further agreed on the need for both countries to work together to address illegal migration, human trafficking and smuggling.

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has held discussions with President Hassan Rouhani of the Islamic Republic of Iran to express South Africa’s interest in a peaceful and just resolution of the tension between Iran and the United States (US).
President Ramaphosa placed a telephone call to his counterpart on Thursday, 9 January 2020, during his visit to Kimberley in the Northern Cape where the President was leading the 108th anniversary celebrations of the African National Congress.

President Ramaphosa’s engagement with President Rouhani was informed by South Africa’s principled view that conflicts should be resolved through political dialogue rather than the use of force.

The engagement was also framed by South Africa’s role as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and Incoming Chair of the African Union.

President Ramaphosa conveyed to President Rouhani South Africa’s condolences at the assassination of the Iranian Military Commander, Major-General Qasem Soleimani, in a US military strike which targeted General Soleimani on Iraqi soil on Friday, 3 January 2020.

President Ramaphosa also conveyed South Africa’s sadness at the loss of life – including that of a significant number of Iranian citizens – that resulted from the crash of Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752 shortly after take-off from the Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran on Wednesday, 8 January 2020.

In the context of the pursuit of global peace, President Ramaphosa expressed deep concern at the military action by the US, which had led to increased tension and created conditions for retaliation.

President Ramaphosa called on all sides to exercise maximum restraint and conduct themselves within the rule of international law.

The President expressed to President Rouhani his expectation that the international community made every effort to secure a peaceful and just outcome, which would advance global peace, enable global trade and provide security for ordinary people in all parts of the world.

President Ramaphosa said South Africa was deeply concerned about the escalating tension in the Middle East, which has far-reaching implications for the region as well as international peace and security.

President Ramaphosa also spoke of the need of all countries of the world to observe UNSC resolutions and the UN Charter. The charter calls on all member states to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the UN.
Deputy President David Mabuza, in his capacity as South Africa’s special envoy to South Sudan, held various consultative meetings regarding outstanding matters relating to the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan.
The main aim of the visit was to zero in on consensus from the different parties on the issue of the number of states and their boundaries. During the Consultative Meeting of Parties that took place from 1 to 4 December 2019, meaningful progress was made wherein parties moved from their original five divergent positions towards consensus on two positions, which are 23+1 and 32+ states.

Subsequent to the December 2019 Consultative Meeting of Parties, it was agreed that a follow-up meeting should be held to consolidate the emerging consensus position on the number of states. Deputy President Mabuza further held bilateral meetings with the guarantors to the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan, to mobilise for their continued support to the peace process.

During this round of Consultative Meeting of Parties, it was envisaged that an agreement on a mechanism to amicably resolve the contentious issue of a number of states and boundaries, would be reached.

The finalisation of this matter will pave a way to the formation of the Revitalised Transitional Government of National Unity within the current extended period ending in February 2020.

“We have returned to Juba hopeful that parties will reach an agreement on a workable mechanism to resolve the matter of states and their boundaries. More importantly, is to ensure that a Transitional Government of National Unity of South Sudan is formed before the expiry of the current 100 days extension. Our ultimate goal with all these efforts is to ensure a peaceful South Sudan where the guns are silenced for good and where her people pursue their development.” said Deputy President Mabuza.

South Africa will continue to support the peace process in South Sudan for a better Africa and a better world.
The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, participated in the Fifth Raisina Dialogue Conference, and will be co-chairing the South Africa-India Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) with her counterpart, the Indian Minister of External Affairs, Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in New Delhi in India.
The dialogue, taking place from 14 – 16 January 2020 at the Taj Palace Hotel, was held under the theme “21@20: Navigating the Alpha Century”.

The Raisina Dialogue is an annual conference hosted by the Indian think-tank, the Observer Research Foundation, in conjunction with the Ministry of External Affairs of India. It is one of India’s flagship conferences on geopolitical and geo-economic issues aimed at discussing and addressing issues facing the global community and enjoys multi-stakeholder participation.

The conference has developed into an influential platform for the discussion of topical issues in the international arena and a number of prominent speakers once again participated in this year’s event.
On Friday, 17 January 2020, Minister Pandor will co-chair the 10th South Africa-India JMC together with her counterpart from India, the Minister of External Affairs, Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. The JMC is the structured bilateral mechanism which coordinates bilateral relations between South Africa and India at the level of Foreign Minister.

Relations between South Africa and India have strengthened and deepened considerably since the establishment of formal diplomatic relations in November 1993. Besides close people-to-people contact, the relationship enjoys a strong commercial element with bilateral trade for 2018 totalling R110 billion. Furthermore, close cooperation exists between the two countries in a number of multilateral fora, most notably within BRICS, IBSA and the Indian Ocean Rim Association.
During the JMC, the ministers will reflect on ways to enhance trade and to remove barriers in order to grow exports and investment, especially in the financial services, agro-processing, mining equipment and technology and pharmaceutical sectors. The JMC will also reflect on ways to grow tourism flows as Indian tourist arrivals approach 100 000 per annum. In this regard, a Plan of Action will be adopted in terms of the South Africa-India Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Tourism Cooperation, as well as the implementation of the Visa Simplification Agreement, which was signed in December 2019.

Cooperation in the area of human resource development will also be on the agenda of the meeting with the envisaged finalisation of a MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Higher Education and a Recognition of Mutual Qualifications Agreement.

The ministers will also reflect on foreign policy issues of mutual concern and consider closer cooperation between South Africa and India on international issues and within multilateral organisations.
South Africa and India share strong historical and cultural ties, and the Minister sought to use this visit to strengthen these ties.
The Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, visited Mumbai, India, from 14 to 16 January 2020 as part of a trade roadshow to grow Indian tourist arrivals and consolidate the market share of the Asia-Pacific region to South Africa.

In January 2019, a Strategic Programme of Cooperation inclusive of tourism was signed during President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State Visit to India. The two countries signed a three-year plan of action that outlines the implementation plan of the Strategic Programme of Cooperation in the tourism sector.

The Minister also utilised the occasion of the roadshow to engage with stakeholders, tour operators and investors in an effort to build confidence, and seek partnerships and opportunities to unlock the market for both countries’ tourism sector. This is part of the new marketing approach which aims to pay greater attention to the needs of tourists in all the markets, especially South Africa's priority markets.

India is an important tourist source and priority tourist market for South Africa with 93 428 Indian tourists visiting the country in 2018. This visit was part of the effort to grow this number in the coming years.
Tourism Minister, Mamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, has congratulated SAA for being named as one of the top-performing airlines globally for on-time performance (OTP) by travel data and analytics company, Cirium.
The International Airlines Transport Association’s benchmark of OTP is that an airline is on time when it arrives within 15 minutes of the scheduled time of arrival or departs within 15 minutes of the scheduled departure time.

According to the recently released Cirium Report, SAA was ranked fourth in the category for the Middle East and Africa mainline carriers, making SAA the leading African carrier on OTP.

“This accolade of South African Airways being one of the top on-time airlines, is another indication that our tourism services are among the best in the world.

“As a destination, we strive to offer a product where excellence is a habit and we will constantly enhance our offerings to ensure we reach our target of 21 million tourists by 2030, in both numbers and the memories of those who visit and tour our country,” said the Tourism Minister in a statement.
The Hubei University of Technology, a public multidiscipline institution specialising in engineering in the People’s Republic of China, has conferred various degrees to 34 Free State students.
The 34 Free State students were awarded Bachelor’s Degrees in International Economy and Trade; Chemical Engineering and Technology; Environmental Engineering; Computer Science and Technology; Human Resources Management; Biotechnology; Bioscience; Marketing Management; and Pharmaceutical Engineering.

Free State Premier, Sisi Ntombela, has applauded the students, whose ceremony came just a day after the province celebrated being number one in the country in terms of the Grade 12 pass rate, with a record-breaking 88.4%.

“This achievement by our students abroad emphasises the Free State Government’s passion for education and our collective desire to leave a lasting legacy that will increase the number of appropriately skilled people that will, in the future, meet the province’s demands,” the Premier said in a statement.

In total, 65 Bachelor’s degrees and three Master’s degrees were conferred to international students from various countries and 20 students were awarded for outstanding performance.

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Mossel Bay got a new zipline recently, which has been referred to as “1,1 km of screaming fun”. The zipline was approved by the Mossel Bay Municipality in 2017 and opened recently.
According to Mossel Bay Zipline, adventurers are to glide "over the ocean at speeds of up to 80 km/h" with views of the cliffs, ocean and even possibly some sea life on what it insists is the world’s longest over ocean zipline (1,100 m).

The zipline stretches from the cliffs below Point High School to the deck of the current (Shark Lab) aquarium at the Point, according to the Mossel Bay Advertiser.

A ride on the zipline costs R450 per person. No children under six years old are allowed to ride, nor are pregnant women or people heavier than the weight restriction of 120 kg.

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South African Charlize Theron has been nominated for an Academy Award for her role in “Bombshell”. Theron already has one Oscar, from 2004, for her portrayal of serial killer Aileen Wuornos in “Monster”; and a nomination in 2006 for “North Country”.
In her latest role, Theron stars as Fox News host Megyn Kelly, in a true story about exploitation in the workplace. Co-star Margot Robbie scooped a nomination for Best Supporting Actress. The movie’s cast also includes Nicole Kidman and John Lithgow (who portrays Roger Ailes, the Fox News CEO at the centre of the 2016 scandal).

The film, which Theron’s company co-produced, has also received a nomination for its Make Up and Hair Styling.

Fellow nominees in the Oscars Best Actress Category include Cynthia Erivo in “Harriet”, Scarlett Johansson in “Marriage Story”, Saoirse Ronan in “Little Women” and Renée Zellweger in “Judy”.

The 92nd Oscars will be held on Sunday, 9 February 2020, at the Dolby® Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®in Hollywood, and will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

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Springbok captain, Siya Kolisi, was honoured for his contribution to South Africa’s 2019 Rugby World Cup victory on Tuesday night, 13 January 2019, by being awarded the prestigious Pat Marshall Memorial Award at the annual Rugby Union Writer’s Club (RUWC) dinner in London. Kolisi said it was an honour and thanked everyone for their support of rugby and South Africa as a country.
Kolisi was shortlisted with his Springbok team-mate Faf de Klerk, SA Rugby’s Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, as well as inspirational Wales and Japan captains, Alun Wyn Jones and Michael Leitch.

The South African captain was voted the winner following a poll of the RUWC’s more than 200 members.

Previous winners of the award include Gareth Edwards, Jonah Lomu, Martin Johnson, Lawrence Dallaglio, Jonny Wilkinson, Owen Farrell, Dan Carter, Eddie Jones and Jonathan Sexton, last year’s winner.

The Pat Marshall Memorial Award for Rugby Personality of the Year is handed to the individual who has made the greatest impact on rugby in the previous 12 months.

According to The Guardian, “anyone familiar with Kolisi’s extraordinary back story will know, he must be the ultimate example of just how transformative sport can be”.

“I am really honoured and this is a massive privilege, not only for me but also for my team-mates as I would not have been able to achieve this without them,” said Kolisi.

“Thank you for supporting rugby and supporting South Africa as a country – this award is not only for me and my team-mates, but for all the rugby players around the world, let’s keep growing the game.”

Apart from lifting the Webb Ellis Cup in Japan last November, the Springboks were also named World Rugby’s Team of the Year, Erasmus walked away with the accolade for Coach of the Year and Pieter-Steph du Toit was named Player of the Year for 2019.

In December, Kolisi dedicated his World Peace and Sport Champion for 2019 Award, which he received in Monaco, to the 2019 Rugby World Cup-winning Springbok squad.

Springbok wing, Cheslin Kolbe, scooped the top award in the French league after he was named as the Top 14’s Player of the Season at a glittering ceremony in Paris late in November 2019, while the fleet-footed winger also won the awards for the best Top 14 player at the World Cup, and for the Try of the Season.

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Former Paralympic medallist Natalie du Toit has been nominated for the Laureus Sporting Moment of the last 20 years.
This year's Laureus World Sports Awards will celebrate 20 years of the prestigious accolades being awarded to sports stars.

In honour of its anniversary, Laureus has narrowed down 20 of the best sporting moments over the past 20 years.

"The Laureus Sporting Moment Award celebrates moments where sport has unified people in the most extraordinary way, demonstrating how sport has the power to change the world," Laureus stated on their website.

In 2001, Du Toit was severely injured in a car crash, and was forced to have her left leg amputated at the knee.

Three months after the accident, she returned to the pool determined to compete in the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

Against all odds, Du Toit stunned to win two golds at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

Du Toit made history by becoming the first female amputee swimmer ever to qualify for the able-bodied Olympics in Beijing in 2008.

Du Toit, who retired after the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games, has an impressive Paralympic record, winning 13 golds and two silvers.

There will be three knock-out rounds, with the Top 20 moments whittled down to 10 then five, with the Top 5 going head-to-head with the winner being revealed at the Laureus Awards in Berlin on 17 February 2020.

Fans can vote online on the Laureus website from 10 January to 16 February 2020.

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Team South Africa has two athletes competing at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics which are being held in Lausanne, Switzerland, until 22 January.
In making the announcement, governing body SASCOC named Thabo Rateleki and Hanle van der Merwe to compete in the Slalom and Giant Slalom events.

They will be accompanied by their coaches, Alex Heath and Khaliswa Hastaga and the Chef de Mission, Jabu Malindi.

Rateleki will be the flag bearer for these Games and boasts a number of achievements in Alpine Skiing competitions at national level.

In 2018, he won a gold medal in the Slalom discipline at the National Championships.

In 2019, he also placed second in the Giant Slalom discipline, while third places in Slalom at the 2019 National Championships and National Junior Championships respectively qualifying him for the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games.

Van der Merwe has participated in various International Ski Federation Championships, National Junior and Senior Championships where she produced excellent performances and placed in the top three positions.

In 2019, she won three bronze medals in the Giant Slalom and Slalom events qualifying her for the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics.

In announcing the team, SASCOC Acting CEO, Ravi Govender, said: ’We congratulate our two athletes who have qualified for the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games and have already arrived in Switzerland to prepare for the opening ceremony.

“Although African nations are not regular participants in Winter Olympic Games mainly due to geographical reasons with very little snow of competition quality experienced on the continent, we are proud that South Africa will have representation at these Games.

“On behalf of SASCOC, we wish the team well and urge them to give it their all and be good ambassadors of South Africa", he added.

The Acting President of SASCOC, Barry Hendricks, also conveyed his well wishes to the team. “We wish our athletes and coaches the very best. This event is also a leadership learning experience, we look forward to the athletes sharing their experiences in South Africa with their friends and federation.”

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“Mr President,

“As this is the first open debate for the year 2020, South Africa would like to use this opportunity of welcoming the new elected members, Estonia, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Tunisia and Vietnam to the Council. We wish you the best during your two-year term. We have no doubt that the newly elected members will play a constructive role in the work of the Council, and we look forward to working with you to this end.

“We also thank the outgoing elected members, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Kuwait, Peru and Poland for their positive contributions to the work of the Council.

“We thank you Mr President, for dedicating the first thematic debate, during this historic 75th year for the United Nations, to the Charter, which forms the foundation of this Organisation’s very existence and our ongoing work.

“As a founding member of the UN, South Africa, together with fellow African States, Ethiopia, Egypt and Liberia, participated in the drafting and adoption of the UN Charter at the San Francisco conference. South Africa deposited its instrument of ratification on 7 November 1945.

“Mr President,

“We note with regret that the Foreign Minister of Iran was not granted a visa to attend this meeting, thus denying an important actor in the troubled Gulf region the opportunity to express its views on peace and security in the context of a debate on the UN Charter.

“The denial of entry to member states of the UN (one of which participated in the drafting of the Charter and deposited its instrument of ratification on 24 October 1945), to participate in debates at the UN, contravenes the 1947 hosting agreement and also serves to curtail the resolution of disputes through constructive dialogue.

“Mr President,

“The signing of the Charter of the United Nations in San Francisco in 1945 was a seminal moment in the relations of States, which invoked a sense of unity for a common cause. A moment, during which, as the second Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjöld, later pointed out, 'The hopes that were then aroused in many hearts out-ran the limitations of human nature'. The signing of the UN Charter was and remains an expression of hope that the peoples of the world can live in peace and prosperity in larger freedom.

“The UN Charter represents a normative and contractual framework of the values we, as nations of the world, aspire to and the commitments we intend to abide by. Following the unsuccessful attempt of the Covenant of the League of Nations to create an environment in which another world war could be averted, the UN Charter succeeded in the creation of a multilateral system of governance that has ensured that countries are able to convene within a rules-based framework to discuss and promote issues of international peace and security, human rights and development.

“Mr President,

“We recognise that since its inception, the Charter has played a significant role in regulating relations between Member States by forbidding the use of threat or force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, and advocating for the peaceful settlement of their disputes.

“While the Charter reinforces the respect for sovereignty of nations, it also in Article 33 calls on all nations, to collectively pursue a non-antagonistic and mutually beneficial approach to its international relations.

“Despite the noble aspirations of the Charter and its positive impact, some Member States have and still continue to violate some of its central tenets. Article 2.1 of the Charter maintains that the UN is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members, however, unilateral actions and disregard for international law continue.

“This enables those with power, to violate the Charter by, for example, settling their disputes by non-peaceful means, in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are severely endangered. However, this assumption of power does not exempt them from the adverse consequences we all have to bear if we flout the principles enshrined in the Charter.

“These consequences are often uncontrollable and impact on the long term security of all as is witnessed in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and other parts of the world.

“Recent developments acutely illustrate this point, and it is discouraging to note that the actions of some endanger the lives and well-being of us all, whether by the possession of weapons of mass destruction or the violation of the sovereignty of other nations through the illegal and unilateral use of force or by extra-judicial action leading to a runaway spiral of escalating violence and destruction.

“We must stress that the Charter is a compact, which Member States have agreed to voluntarily abide by for their mutual benefit. There cannot be selective adherence to the Charter as it would undermine the very credibility of such a compact. Selective implementation of the Charter undermines this Organisation and the post-World War II international system of governance that we have developed.

“Mr President,

“The Charter is very clear that the Security Council is the sole body to authorise the use of force. Additionally, the Charter does provide for states to act in self-defence, including confronting imminent threats, but these threats must be credible, real and objectively verifiable for the use of force without Security Council authorisation to be justifiable.

“Unfortunately, state practice over the last 75 years has gone beyond what the drafters of the Charter intended. What we have instead seen is that the Charter has been abused to justify the illegal use of force.

“To uphold the original intention of the Charter, which ultimately is predicated on peace, South Africa is of the view that even in the event that there is evidence of a real and credible threat, any recourse to the use of force based on self-defence should be brought to the Security Council to authorise.

“This will help to ensure that the use of force should be deployed for common international interests and not for the narrow interests of a single state or group of states whose actions often exacerbates threats to global peace and security.

“Ultimately, the Charter seeks to prevent the use of force. Therefore, the issue is not just about whether the use of force is legal or not, but whether its use contributes to the Charter’s vision of a more peaceful and prosperous world.

“Mr President,

"It is out of necessity that the Charter provisions of equality of nations, mutual respect and the adherence to international law are upheld if we are to resolve current disputes through negotiated settlement and to prevent the outbreak of further conflicts. This approach is necessary in the context of emerging threats to international peace and security such as growing intra-state and trans-state conflicts, the rise of non-state actors, terrorism, transnational organised crime, and other such acutely global threats. We should not allow for competing political interests to undermine respect for international law and self-determination in cases such as Western Sahara, and the occupied Palestinian territories.

“Mr President,

“The Charter is explicit on the role of Regional Organisations as reflected in Chapter VIII, which makes provision for regional arrangements to address matters relating to the maintenance of international peace and security. This Chapter is testament to the vision of the drafters of the Charter, as at the time, regional organisations were not as developed and equipped to deal with peace and security matters as they are today.

“In the present day, Chapter VIII is even more relevant with regional organisations, particularly the African Union and regional economic communities on the African continent, having established peace and security mechanisms, including those dealing with mediation, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. As members of the UN, we must continue our efforts at strengthening cooperation and coordination with regional arrangements to ensure that our efforts are complimentary and mutually reinforcing.

“Mr President,

"While the Charter remains relevant, we must acknowledge that the world today is very different from the world that existed 75 years ago when the Charter was signed. At the time of signing, there were 51 Member States. The majority of Member States from Africa and Asia that make up today’s 193 Member States, were not yet independent.

“While the values that underpin the Organisation should not be changed, Charter amendments are necessary to ensure that the Organisation reflects the current global reality. In the first few years of the Organisation’s existence, Member States were willing to make the necessary amendments to the Charter and the 5 Charter amendments that were made, accommodated the growing membership.

“However, it has been almost 47 years since the last Charter amendment. For the Organisation to be effective and remain relevant it must reflect the current state of the world and we must be willing to make the necessary changes to ensure that Member States are adequately represented in all the principal organs, including the Security Council.

“Mr President,

“As we reflect on the importance of the Charter and ways to strengthen its purposes, perhaps we need to ask ourselves whether the hopes that were aroused during the formation of this Organisation succumbed to the limitations of human nature that Hammarskjöld spoke about.

“We cannot allow the tremendous gains that have been made, to galvanise collective action through the UN, to be lost. We must use the opportunity of the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Charter and the UN itself to recommit to the aspirations we had when it was signed.

“This would necessitate us to recommit to uphold and return to the letter and spirit of the Charter and its central principles through which we pursue international peace and security and continue to pursue the mutual benefit and development of all. This is not an optional approach but a prerequisite and necessity for international peace and security and for creating a world, which understands that, the interests of each nation is imbedded in the interests of all.

“I thank you.”

“Mr President,

“I thank SRSG Chambas for his briefing and would like to use this opportunity to commend the efforts of the SRSG and his team in efficiently discharging their mandate amidst an increasingly challenging environment.

“At the outset, South Africa wishes to express its full support for the role of UNOWAS in the West Africa region and the Sahel, and we support the renewal of the mandate of this important Office, which the Council will deliberate during the course of this month.

“We commend the efforts of UNOWAS to strengthen national and regional capacities for conflict resilience and to support the enabling environments for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. This is imperative as continued efforts to improve such capacities, in tandem with security strategies, pave the way for peace and stability.

“Mr President,

“South Africa remains concerned by the continued terrorist attacks against civilians, security and defence forces as well as peacekeepers in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and Lake Chad Basin countries that have resulted in many fatalities. It is disturbing that the terrorist attacks are spreading to other countries in the region previously not affected.

“We are also deeply concerned by the increase in intercommunal violence, which is increasingly becoming a security threat and also exacerbating the security and humanitarian situation in West Africa region and the Sahel. Effective measures need to be devised to resolve farmer and herder disputes as well as inter-communal violence. In this context, we welcome the collaboration of UNOWAS with the Peacebuilding Support Office and the Peacebuilding Fund to support national and cross-border programs, to address tensions related to the conflicts related to transhumance, prevention of violent extremism, and empowerment of youth and women in peacebuilding processes and conflict prevention mechanisms.

“We are encouraged by the initiatives undertaken by countries in the region to improve the security situation. The decision taken by the ECOWAS extraordinary summit on terrorism in September 2019 is indicative of the determination and political will of African leaders to collectively address the security challenges in the region. The region’s stern determination should be equally met with intensified support from international partners to assist the region to successfully implement the Stabilisation Strategy for countries affected by Boko Haram, the G5 Sahel Priority Investment Plan, the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel and the United Nations Support Plan for the Sahel. We believe that the implementation of these plans envisioned in the mentioned strategies will contribute towards addressing the challenges faced by the region in a holistic manner.

“Mr President,

“The partnership between UNOWAS and the regional and sub-regional bodies, including the AU, ECOWAS, LCBC, MNJTF and G5 Sahel as well as with UNOCA to strengthen coordination efforts towards the implementation of regional strategies is paramount.

“The continuation of consultation processes and national dialogues to address election-related issues by countries in the region is commendable in preserving peace and stability. In this context, we encourage UNOWAS to continue to pursue collaboration with ECOWAS, its mediation missions and good offices, especially in view of the planned elections in many countries of the region during the course of 2020.

“We welcome the commitment of countries in the region to implement the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in line with Security Council Resolution 1325. We are particularly pleased with the recommendation emanating from the annual consultations of the Working Group on Women, Peace and Security in West Africa and the Sahel held in October 2019 for the organisation by UNOWAS of an annual regional forum for women and youth. This recommendation resonates with the call made in Resolution 2493, encouraging regional and sub-regional groups to consider convening meetings in the lead-up to the 20th commemoration of Resolution 1325 with the participation of governments, relevant stakeholders and civil society to review the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in their respective regions.

“We also commend efforts made to improve gender parities in the West Africa region through the adoption of relevant legislations, which will increase the number of women appointed in senior positions and improve the involvement and meaningful participation of women in decision-making processes.

“Mr President,

“In conclusion, we reiterate our position that a comprehensive approach that includes addressing the root causes of insecurity and instability is paramount for the realisation of sustainable peace in West Africa and the Sahel.

“I thank you.”

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