South Africa says it will continue to advocate for the reform of the United Nations, in order to make it more inclusive, democratic and representative, says the Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

Briefing the media here Tuesday on the work of the International Co-operation, Trade and Security (ICTS) cluster of ministries, she added that calls for the reform of the UN were continuing at South Africa’s UN mission in New York.

“Political leaders, whenever we meet, particularly African leaders and those from the developing world, we do not shut up. We continue to say to the global community and leaders — in particular to the five permanent members (of the UN Security Council) — our experience in the past years has taught us that when they disagree, that’s when the lack of peace rears its ugly face. It is about time that the world democraticises to change things,” she said.

Africa, supported by other developing nations in Asia, have been calling for the reform of the UN, and its entities like the UN Security Council, which has since World War II accorded veto rights on substantive resolutions to five permanent members — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States while the 10 non-permanent members are elected by the General Assembly for a two-year term.

Of Africa’s 54 nations, the continent has only three non-permanent members who do not influence major decisions. It is for this reason that African leaders have repeatedly called on the UN to consider offering a permanent seat to Africa citing that it will be the only way it will acquire legitimacy and unconditional acceptance of its decisions, which have often been questioned in the past as they tend to protect their own national interests.

Nkoana Mashabane said Pretoria will continue raising the matter on all platforms that it finds itself in. “We now want to see action. The UN cannot pretend that the world has not changed since 1945,” she added.

Turning to Pretoria’s intention to withdraw from the Roman Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Nkoana Mashabane said South Africa remained committed to upholding human rights despite that.

“South Africa’s commitment to the protection of human rights and the fight against impunity remains unshaken, despite this decision to withdraw. South Africa has always and will always condemn in the strongest terms human rights violations and international crimes wherever they may occur and call for accountability from those responsible,” she said.

Pretoria is expected to send an ‘instrument of withdrawal’ letter to the United Nations Secretary-General explaining its intention after it found its obligations, with respect to the peaceful resolution of conflicts, at times incompatible with the interpretation given by the ICC.