The ANC and many African countries are angry at alleged bias of the international criminal tribunal.
A South African government delegation to the African Union (AU) summit in Ethiopia this weekend is set to try hard to win an argument against member states withdrawing from the International Criminal Court (ICC), while at the same time guarding against appearing to be defying the ruling ANC.
Although the ANC has made it clear that it wants President Jacob Zuma and the South African delegation "not to break ranks with the continent on this matter", the government is not in favour of AU members pulling out of the ICC.
One of the primary concerns is the impact the withdrawal would have on the country's economy because Western countries would not take kindly to a pull-out.
"We are Europe's big trade partner on the continent and we can't afford to take that risk," said a senior government official with knowledge of the discussions around South Africa's attitude to the ICC. "It's going to have serious implications."
Last month's ANC national executive committee meeting mandated the government delegation to take a firm stance against what is perceived as the ICC's targeting of Africans for prosecution.
African animosity towards the court increased when it insisted on trying Kenya's president Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto over the 2007 post-election violence in that country, despite Kenya requesting that the cases be referred to its own courts. An arrest warrant issued for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was one of the earlier cases that heightened tensions between the ICC and African states.
Lobbying for a pull-out gained momentum in the past few months with some AU members accusing the ICC of focusing only on prosecuting African leaders while refusing to charge former United States president George W Bush and former British prime minister Tony Blair over their decision to invade Iraq.
The ANC wants South Africa to speak out against the ICC at the meeting. The party said the ICC represents "inequality before the world justice where the weak is always wrong and the strong is always right" and that the court is used "to effect regime change" in many cases.
The government, however, remained coy about its position this week, with the international relations minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, saying the country does not decide the outcome of meetings before they happen.
"South Africa is going to that meeting to participate, fully aware of the developments that have taken place, but having listened to genuine complaints," she told journalists at a briefing on Tuesday.
An ANC international relations insider told the Mail & Guardian that the country would be guided by the majority decision taken by AU members: "Whatever the continent is saying, that will be our position."
But South Africa, the continent's beacon in terms of democracy and laws that protect human rights, is unlikely to simply accept what other members say without influencing the outcome.
What also puts South Africa in a difficult position is that the country domesticated the obligations in the Rome Statute (the treaty that governs membership of the ICC) when it incorporated it into national law by passing the Implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Act.
In addition, the history of South Africa's engagements with the ICC speaks of a country that will find it hard to advocate for a withdrawal.
When the AU decided in 2009 not to co-operate with the ICC in the arrest of al-Bashir, South Africa vowed to honour its obligations to the court and arrest al-Bashir should he arrive in the country.
Dan Kuwali, a senior researcher at the Centre for Conflict Resolution in Cape Town, told the M&G that African countries are using the tensions over the indictment of al-Bashir and the two Kenyan leaders to ensure that the continent does not continue to be a "soft target".
Kuwali said, although African countries are correct to send a strong political message to the ICC to demand universal instead of selective justice, "the only way to keep the ICC at bay is to clean Africa's own backyard".
"The easiest way to avoid the hand of the ICC is to strengthen domestic jurisdiction and genuinely prosecute those who commit crimes," Kuwali said. "Africans must also stop committing these atrocities so that the ICC doesn't bother them."
When South Africa did a self-assessment in the wake of Fukushima, it invited the International Atomic Energy Agency to gauge its facilities and readiness for nuclear expansion. This report has not been made public, but according to Institute for Security Studies's Amelia Broodryk, when agency head Yukiya Amano visited earlier this year he "didn't have any comments that we couldn't do it … I can't see a body like that saying 'go ahead' without thinking we could manage it properly."
A nuclear specialist echoed her comments: "We've got a good safeguards record; we openly and regularly are inspected by the agency."
However, there is some cause for concern. Six years ago, armed gunmen gained access to Pelindaba, although insiders say it resulted in a review of security measures.
Transport of nuclear fuel is also a worry, but a specialist said: "You require such small quantities of uranium. Nuclear fuel is so powerful you don't need truckloads."
Broodryk noted South Africa needs the human capacity to oversee nuclear operations. But players say South Africa has the capacity to build the skills required.