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International Organizations in South Africa

The year 1994 marked a watershed in South Africa's international relations, as it was welcomed into regional and international organizations, such as the UN, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the Nonaligned Movement, and many others. The UN already had played an important role in South Africa's transition to democracy beginning in August 1992, when United Nations Security Council Resolution 772 authorized the United Nations Observer Mission in South Africa (UNOMSA) to help quell political violence. UNOMSA deployed thirty members in November of that year, and increased the number to 1,800 to oversee the April 1994 elections.


President Mandela addressed the OAU summit in Tunis in June 1994, when South Africa assumed its seat in that organization for the first time. He emphasized his support for other African leaders and South Africa's solidarity with African interests.

Also in June 1994, South Africa rejoined the British Commonwealth of Nations, which included fifty-one former British colonies. This action followed a thirty-three-year absence that had begun when South Africa declared itself a republic in 1961.

South Africa became the eleventh member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on August 29, 1994, when Deputy President Thabo Mbeki attended a SADC meeting at the organization's headquarters in Gaborone, Botswana. SADC's predecessor, the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC), had been established in 1979 to attempt to reduce regional economic dependence on South Africa.

On September 21, 1994, South Africa became the twenty-fourth member of the South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone and attended that organization's meeting in Brasilia.

Last Updated on Monday 4th August 2008