South Africa plays an active role in all aspects of disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control as these relate to both weapons of mass destruction and conventional arms. While actively promoting and supporting the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, with the goal of promoting international peace and security, South Africa continues to promote the importance of ensuring that non-proliferation controls do not become the means whereby developing countries are denied access to advanced technologies required for their development.
The main focus of the South African Embassy’s disarmament and non-proliferation activities is the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The OPCW implements the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) which aims to eliminate an entire category of weapons of mass destruction as well as to prevent the development and manufacture of any new weapons. The Organisation has four primary areas of activity namely destruction of chemical weapons, industry verification, assistance and protection against chemical weapons and international cooperation on the peaceful use of chemistry.
The Embassy’s participation and activities in the OPCW are underpinned by South Africa’s policy on Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) which is reflected in legislation and is regularly reviewed in accordance with national and international developments. This policy is administered by the South African Council for the Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction.
In respect of activities related to WMD, South Africa prohibits:
- any person, whether for offensive or defensive purposes, to be or become involved in any activity or with goods that contribute to Weapons of Mass Destruction programmes;
- any person to be or become involved in any dual-use goods or activities that could contribute to WMD:
- with countries, individuals, groups, undertakings and entities subject to restrictions imposed by the United Nations Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter; and
- with countries, individuals, groups, undertakings and entities involved in international terrorism, including non-State actors.
The South African Permanent Representation to the OPCW is involved in a wide range of activities and capacities:
- Member of the Executive Council (until May 2012);
- Vice-Chairperson of the Executive Council
- Coordinator of the African Group;
- One of five members of the Advisory Committee on the Programme for Africa.
South Africa further has nationals serving in their personal capacity on the following OPCW bodies:
- Scientific Advisory Board (SAB): Dr. Philip Coleman (current Chairman of the Board);
- Confidentiality Commission: Mr. Lebogang Montjane; and
- Advisory Body on Administrative and Financial Matters (ABAF): Mr. Teddy Ceke.
South Africa hosts a number of annual training courses in cooperation with the OPCW Technical Secretariat namely:
- The Regional Assistance and Protection Course for African States Parties;
- The Basic Analytical Chemistry Course under the OPCW Programme to Strengthen Cooperation in Africa; and
- The Regional Basic Training Course for Representatives of National Authorities of States Parties in Africa involved in National Implementation of the CWC.