South Africa has been voted onto the United Nations Security Council as a non-permanent member.
Its candidature to represent the East and Southern African group was endorsed by Southern Africa last year and the African Union in January.
The United Nations General Assembly on Friday voted to elect Germany, Belgium, South Africa, the Dominican Republic and Indonesia for a two-year term on the Security Council starting on Jan. 1, 2019.
Indonesia drew more votes than the Maldives in the only contested election; the other four candidates ran unopposed.
Uncontested candidates still need to win more than two-thirds of the overall General Assembly vote to be elected.
The council is the only UN body that can make legally binding decisions and has the power to impose sanctions and authorise the use of force.
South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation said it is honoured and humbled by this gesture of confidence.
This will be South Africa’s third term on the UN Security Council, having previously served in 2007-2008 and 2011-2012.
“Our tenure in the Security Council will be dedicated to the legacy of President Nelson Mandela and his commitment to peace. In marking his centenary this year, a Summit on Peace will be held on the eve of the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly in September,” the statement reads.
The Department says it will use its tenure in the Security Council to promote the maintenance of international peace and security through advocating for the peaceful settlement of disputes and inclusive dialogue.
“We will continue to enhance close cooperation between the UN Security Council and other regional and sub-regional organisations.”
During the two previous tenures, South Africa advocated for closer cooperation between the UN Security Council and the African Union Security Council (AUPC), which culminated in the adoption of the landmark Resolution in 2012 on strengthening cooperation between the two bodies.