South Africa's Voting Behaviour in the United Nations

Prof. Suzanne Graham

South Africa has taken up a position on the UN Security Council for three terms (2007-2008; 2011-2012 and 2019-2020). At the start of its first stint, the Republic made voting choices that seemed to be at odds with its declared foreign policy, especially in relation to the advancement and protection of human rights. The perception of South Africa's foreign policy as inconsistent or false has since stirred up debate locally and abroad. Using a three-step model developed by the author, this paper outlines that contrary to these perceptions, four strong and evident foreign policy themes emerge during these terms and South Africa's voting patterns within these themes are far from inconsistent. The themes are: UN reform, advancing African interests, disarmament, and human rights and democracy promotion.