Pretoria – Minister Naledi Pandor has welcomed the 50th ratification of the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The seminal Treaty was adopted by United Nations member states on 07 July 2017 and South Africa signed the Treaty at a signing ceremony held on the margins of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2017 and ratified it on 25 February 2019.
The Treaty complements other international instruments by contributing towards fulfilling the nuclear disarmament obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the objectives of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the various nuclear-weapon-free-zone treaties, such as the Pelindaba Treaty that already banned nuclear weapons in Africa.
According to International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Dr. Naledi Pandor, “The 50th ratification of the Treaty, on United Nations Day, 25 October, is a watershed moment in humanities attempt to rid the world of nuclear weapons. It reminds us that nuclear energy should be solely used for peaceful purposes and not as a weapon of mass destruction.”
The Treaty prohibits all signatory countries from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons, or allowing nuclear weapons to be stationed on their territory. It also prohibits them from assisting, encouraging or inducing anyone to engage in any of these activities.
Minister Pandor said, “South Africa is honoured, as the first country to have voluntarily eliminated all its nuclear weapons, to have played a leading role, together with several UN member states and members of civil society in ensuring that the Treaty is agreed upon and now finally ratified. The Treaty exemplifies the central goal of the United Nations, which according to the UN Charter is to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”.
The Minister also said, “Our collective goal must remain to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons. In this regard, South Africa, working with others who maintain the same goal, will continue our efforts to ensure the complete elimination of all weapons of mass destruction”