Foreign Policy Perspective in a Democratic South Africa
1 December 1994
South Africa, for the first time in its long and turbulent history, has a
truly representative and a democratically-elected government in power. The
historic April 27 elections, followed by the presidential inauguration on May
10, and the installation of a Government of National Unity were indeed
milestones and ushered in a period of profound and fundamental change in our
country. The anachronistic, unjust, immoral and criminal system of apartheid
came to an ignominious end and has been replaced by a genuine democracy.
No longer are we the pariah of the world. Our policies and programmes have,
by and large, been accepted by the international community as realistic and the
endeavour to transform South Africa into a truly free, peaceful, prosperous and
non-racial society has been acclaimed by the very world which previously applied
sanctions and punitive measures against us. Indeed, few countries, if any, enjoy
the phenomenal goodwill, understanding and generous offers of assistance to
rebuild our shattered economy – a legacy of apartheid – as South Africa does.
The world is literally bending backwards to make us a success story.
Our emergence as a democratic country in the decade of the 20th century has
thrust us into a fundamentally transformed world. The cold war has ended; the
great contending forces of capitalism and socialism no longer dominate the world
scene. A new era has dawned whose main content is, inter-alia, the ever-growing
conflict between a highly-industrialised and affluent North and an impoverished,
under-developed, highly populated South. More and more issues as development,
human rights, the environment, South- South co-operation, North-South relations,
multilateralism, peace, security and disarmament, etc., will be dominating the
international agenda. Our response to these basic issues, obviously would be
informed by the necessity to advance our common national interests in the first
place and, secondly, to ensure that the Southern African region develops in
conditions of peace, security and stability.
Foreign policy being an integral part, or rather, an extension of national
policy and interests, becomes, consequently an important component in our
strategy for development and social purposes. In formulating foreign policy we
should, therefore, be extremely careful not to let pre-conceived ideas, in-built
prejudices and rigid attitudes to cloud the basic issues at stake. Objectivity
must be the watchword and an objective approach can only re- inforce the adage
that administrations might change but fundamental interests don’t.
For the effective pursuance of our foreign policy objectives it is absolutely
necessary that the responsible department of government carries out its tasks in
an unbiased manner. Hang-ups of the past and old prejudices should not be
allowed to interfere in the workings of a department that has its brief clearly
spelt out. It becomes an urgent priority for the new government and its major
constituent – the ANC – to ensure that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)
is, therefore, re-vamped and transformed into a truly effective arm of the
Government of National Unity.
FOREIGN POLICY belongs to South Africa’s people
- It mirrors their long relationship with the international community
- It reflects the rich tapestry of their international heritage
- It demonstrates their desire to live in harmony with their neighbours
- It signals their intent to contribute creatively to Africa’s future
- It beckons them to international service so that their country may fulfill
its calling as a responsible global player
- It summons all South Africans to think beyond the immediate, to reach
towards the challenges of the approaching century
- These ideals echo the words of the Freedom Charter which proclaims
“THERE SHALL BE PEACE AND FRIENDSHIP!”
South Africa shall be a fully independent state which respects the rights and
sovereignty of all nations; South Africa shall strive to maintain world peace
and the settlement of all international disputes by negotiation – not war. A
democratic South Africa will be non-aligned and will not affiliate to any
international military blocs; peace and friendship amongst all our people shall
be secured by upholding equal rights, opportunities and status for all….
The right of all the people of Africa to independence and self government
shall be recognised, and shall be the basis of close cooperation.”
The essence of South Africa’s foreign policy is to promote and protect the
interests and values of its citizens. We prize our commitment to peace and to
the human dignity in the far comers of the globe, but recognise that the
security of our people and their yearning for a non-racial, non-sexist democracy
also lies close to our foreign policy.
South Africa is both a trading and maritime nation; our international
relations should actively seek to accentuate the significance of these by
promoting the economic interests of all our people.
A democratic South Africa will actively promote the objectives of democracy,
peace, stability, development and mutually beneficial relations among the people
of Africa as a whole, as well as a Pan African solidarity. Grateful for the
international solidarity which supported the anti-apartheid cause, a democratic
South Africa will be in solidarity with all those whose struggle continue. South
Africa’s foreign relations will reflect our domestic character – a
constitutional state bound by the rule of law.
THE PRINCIPLES OF SOUTH AFRICA’S FOREIGN POLICY
The events of the past few years have profoundly affected the international
community. We believe, however, that the changes which have occurred have
enabled us to enunciate seven principles which will guide our foreign policy.
- A belief in, and preoccupation with, Human Rights which extends beyond the
political, embracing the economic, social and environmental;
- A belief that just and lasting solutions to the problems of human kind can
only come through the promotion of Democracy, worldwide;
- A belief that Justice and International Law should guide the relations
- A belief that international peace is the goal to which all nations should
strive. Where this breaks down, internationally- agreed peaceful mechanisms
to solve conflicts should be resorted to;
- A belief that our foreign policy should reflect the interests of the
continent of Africa;
- A belief that South Africa’s economic development depends on growing
regional and international economic cooperation in an independent world;
- A belief that our foreign relations must mirror our deep commitment to the
consolidation of a democratic South Africa.
The ending of the Cold War helped to terminate a series of conflicts, but new
ones are surfacing throughout the world; individually and collectively they
present the international community with new challenges. At the same time
increasing global interdependence has opened up new opportunities and new
threats as inequalities in international relations become more accentuated.
The demise of the East-West conflict has enhanced the under- developed South
and the industrialized North. South Africa occupies a unique position at this
confluence of world affairs. We will strive to ensure that increasing global
economic interdependence does not widen the division between the South and the
North. This goal is important because it touches upon the desire of our people
for justice, for human rights and for democracy throughout the world. If the gap
between South and the North continues to widen, these ideals will collapse and
the world will be plunged into a new bipolarity. As a country of the South , it
is also in our interest to ensure that the position of the countries of the
South is not prejudiced in the world economy.
Although a more dangerous place, the world dare not relinquish the commitment
to Human Rights. This has a special significance for South Africa; our struggle
to end apartheid was a global one and we believe that a change has enhanced the
necessity for a worldwide Human Rights campaign. South Africa should and must
play a central role in this campaign.
In the aftermath of the Cold War, an international cry has gone forth for
democracy. South Africa will devote its energies to the accomplishment of the
democratic ideals throughout the world. We are conscious, however, that new
demands on the ideal of democracy have recently emerged. In part, they arise
from an apparent rediscovery of self-determination which, in some cases,
undercuts the sovereignty of established nation-states. These differing points
of views understandably generate tension. Our hope is that this can be
creatively settled within regional and international fora.
The changing nature of global society has increased the importance of the
United Nations and other institutions in the search for peace. We recognise the
times necessitate the redesigning of international organizations. In accepting
the importance of this, we insist that their central role in the maintenance of
international law dare not be devalued.
We are conscious that Africa’s global position has been acutely affected by
the ending of the Cold War. Our continent and the destiny of its people will no
longer be subject to the vagaries of super power rivalry and conflict. It will
enjoy greater self- determination. From an economic perspective, however, the
shift in attention away from Africa has grave implications for the further
marginalisation of our continent.
A democratic South Africa’s future is inextricably intertwined with that of
Africa. As the new and latest member of the Organisation for African Unity,
South Africa will have the opportunity to contribute towards the issues which
affect the African continent.
Therefore, our links with this continent are of particular importance but we
recognise that this alone will not help arrest the declining international
interest in the continent. Accordingly, we dedicate our foreign policy to
helping to ensure that Africa’s people are not forgotten or ignored by
In charting this future, we will strive to contribute towards improving the
basic human condition of all Africa’s people. Only this will ensure that the
continent’s people are able to participate in the democratic process of their
respective countries. Democracy will enhance necessary economic growth.
Global change has brought economics and development to the centre of
international relations. South Africa’s security, the well- being of our people
and international peace are all linked to economic growth. But growth without
development and redistribution will, both deny freedom and hamper democracy.
South Africa’s reinsertion into the regional and world economy is a central part
of its foreign policy. We will become a player in the international economic
fora and seek to enhance our own strengths and our declared commitment to the
The rise of a non-racial, non-sexist democratic South Africa from the ashes
of apartheid will not terminate our quest for human rights. South Africa will
immediately become a fully-fledged and vital member of the family of nations who
hold human rights issues central to foreign policy. Some of these steps we will
take are symbolic but, in our efforts to canonise human rights in our
international relations, we regard them as far more than this.
We do believe that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognises two
mutually-reinforced dimensions of human rights.
The first respects the fundamental rights and freedom of the individual,
especially in relation to economic and social rights. The second stipulates the
obligations of society towards individuals. We believe that this duality is
important and creative in safeguarding human rights worldwide.
We will actively participate in a range of multilateral fora. Amongst these,
we regard the Commission on Human Rights and the Third Committee of the United
Nations (UN) General Assembly as particularly important. We will both
immediately accede to, and campaign on behalf of international conventions on
the basis of need. There is a whole range of them covering important topics such
as civil and political rights, economic and social rights, torture, women’s and
children’s rights, racism and apartheid, refugees, the conduct of war and
prisoner-of-war status. When South Africa accedes to the Convention on Civil and
Political Rights of 1966, we shall also accede to the Optional Protocol which
will allow the Commission on Human Rights to receive individual applications for
violations of Human Rights. In addition, we shall become a party to a number of
Conventions produced by the International Labour Organisations protecting
workers, indigenous people and children. As part of a general commitment to
transparency in foreign affairs, the government will be required to present to
the national parliament on an annual basis a list of conventions signed or
discussed at the international level plus a statement on the full implications
of such conventions for a domestic law.
We recognise the importance of regional efforts to deal with human rights
questions. Therefore, we look forward of acceding to the 1981 African Charter on
Human and People’s Rights – the Banjul Charter. Individual South Africans will
be able to petition the Human Rights Commission and we will work actively for
the strengthening of the African Charter. We will accept the ruling of the
International Court of Justice as a statement of intent to settle all interstate
We will take seriously our wider obligation on the human rights front. To
this end South Africa will, co-operate fully with international human rights
groups as we believe our own country should never again become the focus of
international attention on human rights violations.
Human rights concerns will also influence the shape of our bilateral
relations. In this we shall not be selective nor, indeed, be afraid to raise
human rights violations with countries where our own and other interests might
be negatively affected. South Africa’s experience, we believe, shows how
damaging policy can be when issues of principle are sacrificed to economic and
International transformation, has heightened the importance of human rights
in global society.
Although a new item on the international agenda, as a responsible
international player, South Africa dare not avoid grappling with the future of
South Africa should accept both the spirit and the recommendations of the
1987 Bruntland Report which was issued by the United Nations World Commission on
Environment and Development.
We recognise that it is poor, weak societies, at the margins of the global
system, who are closest to the most debilitating effects of environmental
destruction. The only way of preventing further environmental setbacks is to
seek the equitable transfer of resources from the North to the South.
Consequently, we welcome the outcome of the Rio United Nations Conference on
the Environment and Development (UNCED).
We look forward to the ratification of the two conventions which were opened
for signature at Rio: without the support of major powers, they will be rendered
ineffective. But the journey is far from over.
The ANC therefore applauds the recommendation of the UN General Assembly on
the establishment of the High Level Commission on Sustainable Development. This
will be an important follow-up to the momentum reached at Rio. We are also
concerned that the UN General Assembly should expeditiously proceed with the
adoption of an international convention on particularly in Africa, before June
1994. Our people’s voice will be added to Africa’s in highlighting the urgency
of tackling this and other environmental issues.
Particular mention needs to be made of the threat to the atmosphere: if
neglected, it will do irrevocable damage to the planet. A democratic government
will accede to the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone
Layer and the 1989 Declaration of The Hague on the preservation of the
atmosphere. In addition, we will support the work of the Intergovernmental Plan
on Climate Change.
This is linked to South-North relations; in these questions, our loyalty lies
essentially with the South. We will, therefore, strongly support the
cultivation, amongst countries of the South, of an interest in climatic
We should also consider ways in which existing South Africa-based
institutions involved OAU-backed Bamako Convention on the Movement of Hazardous
Waste. This Convention strengthens the Basel Convention on the Transboundary
Movements of Hazardous Wastes by urging a common African position on the issue.
We will not allow our country to become a dumping ground for toxic waste.
We believe that the United Nations should be particularly strengthened to
contribute practically to dealing with environmental issues. In sum, our policy
on the global environment:
- Seeks to support effective standards on the environment and to back these
with sound international environmental law. Consideration will be given to
an “Agenda 21” for South Africa;
- Will ensure the co-ordination of economic and environmental decision-
making international institutions, especially financial ones;
- Believes that sustainable development should become the corner- stone of
- Will seek to strengthen the role of national, regional and continental
non- governmental organisations concerned with these issues as well as
promote a greater awareness of environmental issues in international
financial organisations such as the World Bank and IMF.
We believe that all citizens of South Africa, present and future, have the
right to a safe and healthy environment, and to a life of well-being. As part of
an effective environmental management system, a democratic South Africa will
embrace a holistic approach and encourage trade unions, environmental
organisations, and communities to play an active role in ensuring environmental
protection in the public interest.
We have a special relationship with the peoples of Southern Africa, all of
whom have suffered under apartheid.
While South Africa’s people experienced discrimination and repression at
home, the peoples of other countries fell victim to barbaric destabilisation
policies which left nearly two million people dead, displaced millions more, and
inflicted damage estimated at $65-billion on the economies of neighbouring
The region sustained us during our struggle and our destiny is intertwined
with the region; our peoples belong with each other. Southern Africa is,
therefore, a pillar upon which South Africa’s foreign policy rests.
Closer regional co-operation and economic integration after apartheid will
benefit the entire region. Defining the terms, conditions and principles on
which this should be constructed, is of fundamental importance.
We are firmly committed to the promotion of greater unity among all the
peoples of the African continent and within the Southern African region in
particular. We are currently fully involved in deliberations both of the
Southern African Development Community (SADC), and the Eastern and Southern
African Preferential Trade Area (PTA).
A democratic South Africa will be an integral part of the process defining
the principles of equity, mutual benefit and peaceful co- operation to which the
Organisation for African Unity (OAU) and Southern African regional organisations
subscribe. These principles should underlie the reconstruction of post-apartheid
Southern Africa. More specifically, we are of the view that:
- The construction of a new regional order will be a collective endeavour of
all the free peoples of Southern Africa and cannot be imposed either by
extra- regional forces or any self-appointed regional power”;
- Militaristic approaches to inter-regional security and co- operation
should have no place in the reconstruction of Southern African regional
relations. These should be rooted in a peace- based, development-orientated
approach to regional co-operation;
- A democratic South Africa should therefore explicitly renounce all
hegemonic ambitions in the region. It should resist all pressure to become
the “regional power” at the expense of the rest of the
sub-continent; instead, it should seek to become part of a movement to
create a new form of economic interaction in Southern Africa based on
principles of mutual benefit and interdependence.
We are conscious of the need for any plan or programme seeking to promote
greater co-operation and integration in Southern Africa to take account of the
acute imbalances in existing regional economic relations. These make it
essential for any programme which aims at promoting closer regional economic
relations to be carefully planned and phased to avoid exacerbating existing
South Africa should avoid using regional co-operation or integration as a
vehicle for the one-sided promotion of its immediate interests. Instead, it
needs to recognise that balanced and mutually-beneficial co-operation and
integration can be of considerable significance to the efforts of a democratic
South Africa to place its economy on a new growth path.
We need to take into account the interests of the rest of the region.
Increasing our trade with the region and wider continent should not be at the
expense of industrial development in, or trade between, other countries of the
region. The long-term interests of South African economy will best be served by
an approach to regional co-operation and integration which seeks to promote
balanced growth and development. Trade opportunities will be much greater in a
region which is growing. A co-operative stance within the region will be most
conducive to long-term acceptance as trade or project partners by our
Similar principles should govern the search for ways to transform
exploitative and socially undesirable features of the economy such as migrant
labour. This system has been repeatedly condemned as detrimental. It is,
nevertheless, deeply entrenched and a number of countries have become critically
dependent on it for employment and foreign exchange earnings. A democratic South
Africa cannot take a narrow selfish approach to the issue. It cannot make
unilateral changes to a system which affects the whole region without taking
account of the interests of others. Rather we should be committed to finding an
acceptable regional solution which takes account of the development needs of
historic labour reserve areas.
A democratic, non-racial and non-sexist South Africa will apply to become a
member of SADC. We will similarly explore the possibility of affiliating to the
PTA and will work for both organisations to craft an appropriate institutional
basis for deepening mutually- beneficial and equitable relations in our region.
At the same time we favour discussions with other members of the Southern
Africa Customs Union (SACU) and the Common Monetary Area (CMA) to identify the
changes in these organisations which will enable them to become vehicles for the
promotion of mutually- beneficial co-operation and integration in Southern
We should also consider ways in which existing South Africa-based
institutions involved in regional issues, such as research and scientific work,
are transformed into truly Southern African institutions answerable to regional
bodies. Believing that a future democratic government should undertake to
respect the rights of Southern Africa’s workers, we hail the initiative of the
Southern African Trade Union Coordination Council (SATUCC) to draft a Regional
Charter of Fundamental Worker’s Rights. Workers from neighbouring countries will
thus enjoy the same rights as South African workers to join any union of their
Given that the foundation of all South Africa’s policy must be human rights,
we will co-operatively and urgently explore the creation of a Southern African
Convention of Human Rights, with an attendant Regional Court of Human Rights. A
Regional Convention and Court of Rights will assist in the achievement of
co-operative policing, and of a Regional Mutual Security structure, to enforce
and protect human rights.
The ending of apartheid was a joyous moment in the history of our continent.
Africa sacrificed much during the course of our struggle. Our people – refugees
and the liberation movement – were offered food, shelter and facilities to
enhance the common endeavour to put an end to racist tyranny and oppression.
With fellow Africans we share a vision to transform our continent into an
entity that is free, peaceful and vibrant – a continent which is capable, given
the opportunity, to make an abiding contribution in all fields of human
endeavour – particularly in the sphere of international relations.
Accordingly we joined the Organisation for African Unity (OAU) with the prime
objective to help the organisation in realising its goals of deepening the unity
of Africa’s diverse peoples and cultures and advancing their common well-being.
South Africa has much to offer the rest of the continent. But we believe that
the rest of the continent has much to offer South Africa. We will try to
supplement this two-way process by increasing our trading links with African
countries. We recognise that some steps in this direction have already taken
place. We would not, however, want to use the strength of our economic links as
a means to exert pressure on individual African countries or use our trading
position to secure special recognition for government policies within South
We are in favour of promoting both co-operation and regional economic
integration in Africa. This step will yield benefits in its own right and
strengthen the entire continent in its external economic relations. We recognise
that security questions underpin economic ones. Accordingly we commit ourselves
to the establishment of a process of confidence-building on the continent. We
will take a particular interest in the need to develop a capacity for regional
peace-keeping and peace-making so that we are able to deal on a regional basis
with any potential for conflict. A democratic South Africa will participate in
developments in this area.
We are deeply concerned with the increasing marginalisation of Africa. We
believe, however, that much of this is important as illustrated by the
- The concentration of the global economy into trading blocs has underscored
protectionism, not in Africa, but in the North;
- Depressed international commodity prices have enriched, not Africa, but
- The shift in international investment patterns have encouraged business,
not in Africa, but in the North;
- Mounting debts has benefited institutions, not in Africa, but in the
This is not to say that poor and undemocratic government has not
characterised Africa over the past three decades. But the emerging global
economic circumstances are not conducive to the development of democratic
cultures in African states. We believe that Africa is once again the victim of a
new and grossly unjust global system. Accordingly, we believe that it is of
critical importance to highlight the debt issue. The service payments of
developing countries now exceed all resources flows from developed countries;
there is, therefore, a net transfer of resources from South to North. Unless the
issue of debt relief is dealt with more sympathetically an intolerable burden
will continue to be placed on future generations of impoverished people in the
There is a complex and politically-rich region in North-Africa. Our long
association with it suggests that we will be able to develop strong links.
As a littoral state, a democratic South Africa intends to give serious
attention to Indian Ocean questions including exploring the possibility of
developing mutually-beneficial trade and cultural relations. South Africa has a
long series of historical links with other Indian Ocean countries. We strongly
support negotiations for the Indian Ocean to be declared a Zone of Peace (IOZOP)
as this is central to the region’s security. We would also encourage the
promotion of a regional personality by the improvement in communications across
the Ocean. We will seek observer status to The Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) and
full membership of the 1985 Indian Ocean Marine Affairs Co-operation (IOMAC)
which provides a framework for dealing with marine resources and environmental
A democratic South Africa recognises the importance of peace in the Middle
East. We welcome the peace agreement and various accords between Israel and the
Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) as a first step towards the creation
of a Palestinian state and a lasting peace. We welcome too, the steps currently
underway to bring wider peace to the region. We understand the importance of a
sound and mutually-beneficial relationship with the Arab League, the
Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), and other important cultural and
religious organisations. The economic importance of the region to a democratic
South Africa is recognised and we shall build on these relationships.
This region is rapidly emerging as one of the economic powerhouses of the
world. Although some of our peoples and the liberation movement have had
important links with Asian countries and peoples, South Africa, under the
apartheid regime had had only limited contact with this important region of the
world. A democratic government will vigorously seek to extend South Africa’s
economic relations with Asian countries and regional organisations. We believe
we have much to learn from the experience of Asia both in economic and social
reconstruction. Our relations with this region will also seek to achieve a
rapid, mutually agreeable technology transfer, to enable us to modernize our
A democratic South Africa’s relations with Asian countries will be based on
the fundamental principles outlined earlier. Our link up with this region must
be a dynamic one in the context of South- South relations and development. The
establishment of diplomatic relations will be an independent decision based on
our national interest both economic and political.
In mapping out our relations with Western Europe, our attention will be
focused on the European Union (EU). A democratic South Africa will seek to
negotiate a mutually-beneficial trade and co- operation agreement with the EU
and the nations of the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA). This must be based
on the recognition of the reality of South Africa as a developing nation which
needs to secure reasonable access to global markets.
A democratic South Africa will endeavour to expand and develop bilateral
relations with the countries of Europe in pursuit of our national interests.
Recognising the important role played by the countries of Scandinavia in ending
apartheid, a democratic government will give particular attention to South
Africa’s relations with these countries.
We notice with great concern and disquiet the emergence of racism in many
parts of the world, particularly in Europe. Given our own painful and
destructive past flowing directly from the policies of apartheid, a democratic
and non-racist government is morally-bound to do everything in its power to
thwart and frustrate the efforts of those seeking to impose their evil, criminal
and immoral ideology. A democratic South Africa, as a responsible member of the
global community is also bound, in terms of various UN Conventions and
declarations to assist in every way possible to eradicate the scourge of racism.
And the ANC is committed in doing so.
CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE
The collapse of the Soviet Union has generated a number of threats in this
important corner of the world.
We have followed the creation of new states with great interest and will
explore the possibility of establishing mutually beneficial relations. We are
deeply concerned with the innumerable conflicts in these areas. In particular we
are concerned with the long-term dangers posed by racist policies of
The United States, Canada and Mexico form an important triangle of countries
in a rich corner of our world. We will urge these countries, as they move
towards the establishment of the North America Free Trade Area (NAFTA), to give
special attention to the concerns of developing countries, like South Africa.
We seek bilateral relations with all these countries, building on ties of
friendship forged with peoples of North America in the course of our liberation
struggle. We look forward to these countries playing an important and
constructive role in both African and global affairs. A democratic South Africa
will co- operate with the United States in global fora and promote a
multilateral role in defining the new world order.
LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN
The Atlantic Ocean binds South Africa with the countries of Latin America and
the Caribbean. We look upon them as our near- neighbours and friends where we
have witnessed the recent move towards democracy. With great interest we have
watched the courage with which many of the governments of the region have
tackled their economic, political and social problems; we believe there is much
which South Africa can learn from this determination and sacrifice.
Our government has established friendly relations with the Republic of Cuba.
We express our great anxiety about the continued US blockade of Cuba.
We believe that Cuba’s right to exist and determine its own destiny are
important in the maintenance of international peace, norms and principles. A
democratic South Africa will work to promote political, economic and
developmental links between itself and Latin America and the Caribbean nations.
INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC RELATIONS
Economic issues stand at the very centre of international relations. It is
consequently not surprising that trade and foreign investment issues should be a
cornerstone of our foreign policy. As the sanctions era ends, gaining access to
international know-how and new technology participating in global trading and
investment becomes a primary goal of our diplomacy.
Our trade policy will aim at raising the level of productivity and at
improving the international competitiveness of our economy as a whole.
It will be closely linked to the overall objectives of ANC economic policy.
We will actively participate in international institutions which govern trade
and financial relations in ways which preserve the integrity of policy
formulation. We are concerned, however, that the interests and needs of the
South have had only a marginal influence on decisions taken by these
institutions and will work to strengthen the voice of the South in multilateral
organisations and to promote their democratisation.
We believe that the international trading system as presently constituted
needs close scrutiny and reform. We are concerned with the policies of some of
the advanced countries and the uneven process of trade liberalisation. This must
not become a process in which the countries of the South open up their economies
only to confront tariff and non-tariff barriers in the market places of the
We are concerned both that a failure to finalise the Uruguay round of GATT
may lead to a further round of damaging protectionism in the North, and by the
general failure of these negotiations to take adequate account of our own
interests as well as those of others in the South.
We will vigorously encourage foreign investment in accordance with our goal
of promoting growth and development. We will seek to foster foreign investment
by establishing a climate of political stability and certainty without
sacrificing our autonomy. Economic growth will require transparent and
consistent economic policies.
We will cultivate a strong partnership with civil society, in promoting the
country’s international economic linkages. We encourage non-governmental,
community-based organisations and trade unions to become involved in a
continuous dialogue on the most opportune ways to ensure that South Africa
becomes an important player in the international economy.
THE CHALLENGE OF MULTILATERALISM
The pace and scope of global change has improved the prospects for
multilateralism. Increasing economic interdependency, the fragility of the
planet’s eco-system and the rapid increases in technology have underlined the
necessity to approach many international questions from a common perspective:
judicious multilateral diplomacy will enhance South Africa’s international
THE UNITED NATIONS
Global changes have helped to liberate the United Nations from the
constraints imposed on it by the Cold War. It can now truly fulfill the role to
which it was called.
South Africa, after a period of enforced isolation, has been re- admitted to
the United Nations as a full, active and an enthusiastic member of the family of
nations. Not only do we believe that the United Nations is legally charged to
deal with problems of peace and security, we trust that the United Nations can
be encouraged to reach out to deal with other problems which threaten the
planet. The Secretary General’s recent “Agenda for Peace” document is
an important starting point in this debate.
In the new era of international relations we trust the United Nations will
pay increasing attention to the problems faced by the developing countries. We
are concerned that the development functions of the UN have withered, as a
result of the increasing ascendancy of the Bretton Woods institutions. We are
anxious to ensure that the UN regains its pivotal and democratic role in
furthering the interests of those at the margins of the global economy and, to
achieve this, we strongly support extending the initiatives of the United
Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to help the UN restore its integrity and
We believe that the United Nations must ensure that equality of sovereignty
is the only determinant of power in its deliberating bodies. There can,
therefore, be no inequities generated by centres of priviledge underpinned by
We support, consequently, any endeavour to democratise the United Nations.
This entails reviewing the brief of both the General Assembly and the Security
Council. We are concerned that, as presently constituted, the Security Council
lends itself to a concentration of power. This suggests that global affairs are
run by a small group of powerful countries. We strongly support efforts to
review this position and encourage, moreover, efforts to widen the veto power.
We are encourages by the active role of UN agencies in peace- keeping and its
The United Nations Specialised Agencies are central to the United Nations
missions. South Africa intends to fully participate in the work and debates
around these Agencies.
SOUTH-SOUTH CO-OPERATION AND SOUTH-NORTH RELATIONS
South Africa stands firmly as a country of the South. We are therefore deeply
conscious of the importance of developing and sustaining multilateral forums
which address the interests of the South. A democratic South Africa will play an
active and leading role in the development and strengthening of multilateral
fora which empower the nations of the South.
For thirty years South Africa has been a member of the Antarctic Treaty with
formal status and an Original Consultative Party.
We will take the special responsibilities which flow from our treaty status
and our long interest in the issue very seriously. As good environmental
citizens, we will strongly support the comprehensive protection of Antarctica.
We urge the development of instruments which will enable the continent to become
a “Nature Reserve-Land of Science”.
The world is witnessing a tragic rise in the tide of refugees. As good global
citizens, we believe that South Africa should be engaged with this problem. We
will be strongly supportive of the work of the United Nations High Commissioner
for Refugees (UNHCR). We will take our cue on the definition of refugees from
the Convention on Refugee Problems in Africa, which was accepted by the OAU in
SECURITY AND DISARMAMENT
Security and defence issues fall within the realm of foreign policy where
they affect, or are affected by, both relations between states and international
law. New approaches to security and defence should be developed in the context
of wider policies on regional and international relations.
Security is not only limited to military matters; it has important political,
economic, social and environmental dimensions. Additionally, the security of the
state is dependent on meeting the social, cultural, political, economic and
human rights needs of its people. Enduring security can be achieved through
national and regional efforts to promote democracy, respect for human rights,
sustainable development, social justice and environmental protection.
We share the perspective of the Palme Commission on Disarmament and Security
Issues with respect to common security. The Commission argued that countries
have become increasingly interdependent and common problems transcend national
borders as never before. States can no longer protect their citizens through
unilateral military means. They share an interest in joint survival and should
begin to organise their security policies in co-operation with each other.
Regional security in Southern Africa will be pursued through adherence to
international law, the peaceful settlement of disputes, common security
arrangements and region-wide disarmament.
We believe that the threat or use of force by one state against another is an
unacceptable instrument of foreign policy. It follows that resort to armed
hostilities between states represents a failure of foreign policy.
A democratic South Africa will endorse international resolutions concerning
Article 2 (4) of the United Nations Charter. These are the Manila Declaration on
the Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes; the Declaration on Principles
of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation Among
States; and the Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention in Domestic
Affairs of States.
There are only two exceptions to the prohibition on the use of force by
states; international peacekeeping operations and the right of self-defence
against armed attack, as laid out in the United Nations Charter and interpreted
by the International Court of Justice.
A democratic South Africa will become a signatory to the Geneva Convention
and Protocols, and will in all respects abide by international law with respect
to the conduct of warfare.
A democratic South Africa will be committed to resolving disputes with other
states through peaceful means. In partnership with its neighbours, South Africa
will promote the establishment of regional fora and systems for crisis
prevention and management, and the facilitation, mediation and arbitration of
A democratic South Africa will actively pursue the establishment of common
security arrangements in Southern Africa in order to build mutual trust, share
information and develop a co-ordinated approach to such issues as disarmament,
cross-border trafficking in small arms, foreign military involvement in the
region and refugees. South Africa will further promote the adoption of
confidence and security-building measures and the formal ratification of a
non-aggression treaty in Southern Africa.
We are open to proposals for the establishment of institutions to promote
regional security co-operation. We strongly support efforts to promote increased
military co-operation between the states of the region. And we favour the
creation of an interstate Committee for Defence and Security which could be
incorporated into the existing structures of the SADC. This will help to create
a climate of peace and security in the region which is based on a co-operative
and non-militaristic approach.
We share the commitment of the United Nations to “general and complete
disarmament under effective international control”, as resolved by the
General Assembly at the Special Session on Disarmament in 1978. We endorse the
recognition by the Organisation for African Unity of the positive relationship
that exists between security, development and disarmament.
A reduction in force levels, armaments and defence spending will free funds
required for the social needs of South Africans. It will also facilitate
disarmament on the sub-continent, easing external debt and releasing resources
for development. This will promote both internal stability and regional security
as part of the peace process.
We will work to strengthen arms control regimes world-wide. This will begin
with our membership of the United Nations. We will also join the Geneva-based
Conference on Disarmament. We have taken particular note of the importance of
the Kampala Declaration of 1991 on arms control in Africa.
In the nuclear field, a democratic government will honour South Africa’s
undertakings under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty(NPT) underpinning our
opposition to nuclear weapons. We see the country’s accession to the NPT as a
token of our resolve and commitment to help create a world free of nuclear and
other weapons of mass destruction.
We will actively support the efforts to review the NPT which will be
deliberated at the 1995 Review Conference: the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of its
signing. A democratic South Africa will campaign for consistent and accurate
reports from all member nations. We strongly support and will campaign for a
nuclear weapons-free zone in Africa.
We will strongly support the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA), the other tier of the nuclear non- proliferation regime. We will strive
to become a member of the Zangger Committee which determines the conditions
governing the export of nuclear material and equipment. In the same spirit, we
will also try to help set the conditions and principles which apply to the
transfer of nuclear material, its equipment and its technology. In pursuit of
these goals, we will become active in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
Our concern for arms control will also extend to the chemical field. We will
actively assist the Geneva Conference on Disarmament in their efforts to develop
a comprehensive Chemical Weapons Convention. Such a treaty, we believe, should
ban absolutely and for all time the manufacture, possession and use of these
weapons. We should also work to assure the banning of biological weapons.
International efforts to control conventional weapons will also occupy our
attention. Through our renewed membership of the United Nations, we will
interest ourselves in the United Nations Expert Group on Conventional Arms
Transfers. Without fellow Africans, particularly our neighbours, we will explore
the modalities of suitable arms control regimes for the continent.
We recognise that previous South African regimes have developed an indigenous
arms manufacturing capacity. This industry is a matter for reassessment.
Our position on arms exports should be governed by the following important
considerations: the standards of responsible global citizenship and the
requirements of South Africa’s wider foreign policy goals will have priority
over considerations of the armaments industry within the South African economy.
Our political past meant that South Africa’s people were unable to take full
advantage of the opportunities for membership of international fora which
reflect our rich heritage of links with many parts of the world. A democratic
government will fortify international ties to the benefit of all our people.
South Africa’s return to the Commonwealth of Nations (the Commonwealth) from
which it was forced to withdraw over three decades ago, represents the symbolic
ending of our isolation. And our membership reflects the spirit of our new
foreign policy. We recognise the Commonwealth as a complete web of links in
various areas of human relations and consequently welcome the country’s
association at ministerial meetings and other consultative bodies to enhance our
NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT AND THE GROUP OF 77
South Africa has had a special link with the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). Even
before the formal establishment of the Non-Aligned Movement in 1961 the South
African National Liberation Movement had forged links with the founders of the
movement at the historic 1955 Bandung Conference of Afro-Asian Peoples in
Indonesia where our movement was represented by a two-member delegation.
In many respects our struggle for peace, freedom and justice parallels the
epic quest of the non-aligned countries which went through a similar experience
and which stems from the consolidation of their own independence, freedom,
sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Over the years, the NAM has become a central institution of the South where
it continues to set the agenda for the coming decades. In the changing world
situation the Non-Aligned Movement’s relevance and importance cannot be over
-emphasised. A strong and militant NAM can only benefit our nascent democracy.
SOUTH AFRICA’S FOREIGN REPRESENTATION
Apartheid all but crippled South Africa’s international relations. The
country’s formal diplomatic links were largely confined to a number of countries
with whom apartheid South Africa had historical links, or with the so-called
pariah countries. On the other hand, the liberation movement had representation
in a wider group of countries, including several in which there was no official
South African representation. This tradition and experience thus needs to be
built on in constructing a new foreign service.
The ending of apartheid and the emergence of a non-racial, non- sexist and
democratic South Africa will enable the country to establish legitimate links
with countries across the face of the globe.
Our freedom of movement in this regard, however, will be restricted by
economic and individual policy considerations. It is unlikely that South Africa
will be in a position to establish a representation with every country as
budgetary constraints will vitiate against this.
Our policy Conference of December 1991 noted that:
“The foreign policy of a democratic South Africa will be primarily
shaped by the nature of its domestic policies and objectives directed at serving
the needs and interests of its people.”
Essentially, therefore, decisions about levels and form of representation
will be informed by our basic quest to advance our socio-economic and political
THE DIPLOMATIC SERVICE
This stands at the centre of South Africa’s foreign policy. We believe that
the country needs a professional diplomatic service which will be independent
from the narrow confines of party politics. We believe, too, that as far as
possible, the activities of the foreign service should be open to public
scrutiny and public accountability. We will encourage an open, questioning
culture within the Department of Foreign Affairs. Only this can engender a
robust exchange of ideas which, ultimately, will produce sustainable policy
We have taken careful note of the recent experiences which have shaped
diplomatic services in other parts of the world. In particular, we are concerned
that our professional diplomats should not live a priviledged life. They must
master a range of managerial skills; without these, we believe, the modern
diplomat, and South Africa, will be handicapped.
We also believe – as this policy document attests – that trade and other
economic issues are central to the modern diplomat. Accordingly, we will take
steps to ensure that South African representatives abroad are well-versed in
economic and trade matters which, inter alia, will help drive South Africa’s
We will immediately take steps to ensure that, within a reasonable period,
the diplomatic corps will be fully representative of South Africa’s people.
Modern diplomacy has become an exacting and demanding vocation. It demands,
in our opinion, knowledge, skilled communication, strong commitment and complete
integrity. We will foster the required professional ethos for our corps
anticipating that it will take its place amongst the great services of the
As responsible global citizens, the ANC will encourage South Africans who are
willing and able, to pursue careers in international civil service.