/ 23 November 2022

Ramaphosa calls for reform of UN Security Council during United Kingdom visit

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South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa (L), Britain's King Charles III, South Africa's Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor and Britain's Camilla, Queen Consort during a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace on November 22, 2022 in London, England. This is the first state visit hosted by the UK with King Charles III as monarch, and the first state visit here by a South African leader since 2010. (Victoria Jones - Pool / Getty Images)

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday asked the United Kingdom to “raise its voice” to ensure reform within the  United Nations Security Council

“We look to the United Kingdom to raise its voice in favour of more representative and more inclusive international bodies, including the United Nations Security Council and global financial institutions,” he said, while addressing the Houses of Parliament in London. 

Ramaphosa is on a two-day state visit to the UK, the first to be hosted by King Charles III after the death of Queen Elisabeth II in September. 

During his speech, he maintained the necessity for reform of international institutions on which the world depended “in times of crisis and need”. 

The South African government has on numerous occasions said that Nato and the UN have not fulfilled their mandates in relation to the Russian war in Ukraine

In March, less than a month after Russia invaded Ukraine, Ramaphosa told parliament that the war could have been avoided if Nato had heeded the warnings from among its own leaders and officials over the years that its eastward expansion would lead to greater  instability in the region. 

During the same parliamentary sitting, Ramaphosa said the war demonstrated the need for a multilateral approach to peace and security, and highlighted weaknesses in the structure of the UN.

“The  composition of the UN Security Council, in particular, does not reflect the realities of the prevailing global landscape,” he said, adding that Africa deserved a seat.

“The security council needs to be overhauled so that there is equitable representation and a more inclusive mechanism for resolving international disputes.”

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor accompanied the president on his state visit, along with other ministers. Pandor had in August called for the urgent reform of the UN – particularly its security council. 

“We must continuously reinforce our common commitment to multilateralism, democracy and human rights — and use the proven tools of diplomacy, peace-building dialogue and mediation to resolve conflict and end the intolerable and unnecessary human suffering as a result of wars and other forms of conflict,” said Pandor at the time.  

King Charles III and the Queen Consort welcomed Ramaphosa to the country at the Royal Pavilion.  

Ramaphosa said during his speech that the UK visit was an opportunity to celebrate the “modern relationship” between both countries. While he recognised the historic role of colonialism, he acknowledged the role of redemption. 

“This is a story of a transformed relationship; a relationship of solidarity and compassion, of a shared desire for equality, human rights and the fulfilment of the potential of all.”

He noted the close relationship South Africa and the UK had enjoyed over the last three decades in terms of trade, investment, tourism, sport, education, art, science and innovation.  

“We therefore see this visit as an opportunity to celebrate our modern relationship, as equal partners, working together for the prosperity and security of our people.”

The president acknowledged the UK as the largest foreign investor in South Africa and the fifth largest export destination.

Ramaphosa is expected to hold a bilateral meeting with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at Downing Street on Wednesday afternoon.