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 the structures of human rights, humanitarian principles, idealism and their 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, 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 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 manoeuvres, at the regional as well as global level, to steer the debate on UNSC reform and to lobby for its own permanent inclusion. South Africa, therefore, conducts diplomacy of engagement across the international diplomatic spectrum in support of a diplomacy 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.
Dissertation (MDIPS)--University of Pretoria, 2014.