African ambassadors have expressed support and confidence in South Africa's leadership role, as Pretoria takes up a seat at the United Nations (UN) Security Council for the term 2019-2020 as a non-permanent member.
"This is not the first time that South Africa is occupying this seat. We are very pleased that South Africa is going to be on the Security Council, albeit as a non-permanent member but for the next two years. South is contributing in a very significant way, towards the maintenance of peace and stability on the continent," said Zimbabwe's Ambassador to South Africa, David Hamadziripi, on Friday.
"Some of South Africa's nationals - former president [Thabo] Mbeki and former deputy chief justice [Dikgang] Moseneke have been been appointed as special envoys for the Great Lakes region and Lesotho respectively. South Africa has also deployed its own nationals to assist in ensuring there is a return of peace and stability in the Democratic Republic of Congo."
He said Pretoria has spent "a lot of efforts and resources" in trying to resolve issues of conflict in numerous other parts of Africa.
"We are very confident of South Africa's performance and significant contribution during its tenure as a non-permanent member of the Security Council. We were very happy to hear the President [Cyril Ramaphosa] also speak about the need for reform of the Security Council. In fact, he laid out and reiterated the position of the African Union on our expectations as Africa. The reform of the Security Council is long overdue," said Hamadziripi.
South Africa will serve in the UN Security Council for the term 2019-2020.
The Zimbabwean top envoy spoke to journalists at a summit where Ramaphosa addressed hundreds of foreign envoys accredited to Pretoria at the department of international relations and cooperation in Pretoria.
"You are in South Africa because you have chosen to be our partners. I wish to thank you all for the work you have done recently to help South Africa attain a position on the United Nations Security Council. During our tenure from January 2019, we will remain true to the positions we adopted as we campaigned for this non-permanent seat," said Ramaphosa.
"South Africa is committed to working with its partners on our home continent of Africa and in all regions of the world to secure outcomes that serve our national, bilateral and multilateral interests. We will continue to work in all the regional, continental and global institutions in a manner that reiterates the inescapable reality that the development of South Africa is inextricably linked to that of the African regeneration."
DRC Ambassador to South Africa and dean of the diplomatic corps Bene M'Poko said South Africa's experience, from previously serving in the UN Security Council, will be of great importance.
"My advice to South Africa would be to concentrate on two issues, just like we do in the context of SADC, first it's the peace and security issues and other issues like the reform [of the UN Security Council] will come later. These issues will take time. What's urgent is the peace and security - without which we cannot move forward. Once we are working on peace and security, let's embark into programmes of economic development, especially the Agenda 2063 of the African Union," he said.
"South Africa, because they have been there before, will be in a position to speak with authority, with credibility. People can see what's happening inside South Africa. It has already been involved in sending troops into some countries on the continent, to help them with peace and security issues. South Africa is well positioned to represent Africa."
Ramaphosa hosted hundreds of foreign envoys on Friday, ahead of the annual 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, scheduled from September 18 to the 5th of October.
The Pretoria meeting was attended by diplomatic corps comprising of Ambassadors, High Commissioners, Consuls-General and Charges d’Affaires of nations represented in South Africa.