Africa

OPINION | US-Iran crisis: SA must show leadership

By Rebone Tau | The South African government, through Department of International Relations and Cooperation, needs to understand that issuing a statement on the escalating tensions between Iran and the United States (US) is not enough.

South Africa is currently a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the government has a responsibility to do things differently this time around and show leadership during difficult times on matters of peace and security.

We can’t just have a government that just issues a statement when they have a seat at the dinner table, which in this case is the UNSC. While we all know that the US is a permanent member of the UNSC and has powers to veto resolutions it opposes, a clear message must be sent that it continues to bring instability in the world as if people’s lives don’t matter.

It is in South Africa’s best interests to strongly pursue this matter at the UNSC. As the incoming Chair of the African Union (AU), South Africa has a responsibility to make sure that there is peace and stability on the African continent.

The recent attack on the Kenyan Simba Naval Military Base in Lamu County that houses US and local troops sends a clear signal that what is happening in the Middle East will affect us in the continent.

The South African government, under the leadership of President  Cyril Ramaphosa, needs to find a way to link its AU Chairmanship term to its UNSC term as its own legacy.

The government talks about “Building A Better Africa and A Better World,” but without peace and security being top on the agenda, this ideal world that the government talks about will just be a mere dream and nothing more.

Without peace and security, it is difficult to grow the economy of any country. Investors would not want to put their monies where they are not sure if it will bear profits for them.

The government needs to show the world that indeed this is a new dawn in which things are done differently and there are serious efforts to bring about peace and stability.

Civilians are always casualties of wars at the end of the day, and children and women suffer the most. Peace, stability and human rights have long formed the basis of South Africa’s foreign policy and now is the time to show the world what South Africans stand for.

We saw what happened during our last term at the UNSC when we voted for Resolution 1973 which led to a multi-state NATO-led military intervention in Libya.

To date, Libya is still not politically stable, so it is in the best interest of South Africa to really make sure that peace and security is high on the agenda of the AU and to influence the UNSC to stand up to aggressors, such as the US, who continue to undermine global stability.

Rebone Tau
Rebone Tau

Rebone Tau is a political commentator.

The views expressed in this opinion article are the contributor’s own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Current Affairs ZA.

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