SA concerned at developments in Venezuela

Sunday, January 27, 2019

South Africa has expressed concern at attempts to unconstitutional changes to the government of Venezuela.

“I wish to stress that South Africa is firmly against any attempts at undue or unconstitutional change of government in Venezuela. The Security Council should never be an instrument that validates unconstitutional changes of any government,” says Ambassador Jerry Mtjila.

Addressing the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting on Venezuela on Saturday, Matjila, who is the permanent representative of South Africa to the UN, said the country is ‘deeply concerned’ by developments in the South American country.

“We are therefore deeply concerned by what is a clear attempt, in Venezuela, to circumvent the country’s constitutional legal mechanisms which governs its elections,” said the Ambassador.

Media reports emerged at the weekend stating that several European powers have warned Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro that he must call elections within eight days or they will officially recognise the opposition's claim of leadership.

Presidential elections took place in Venezuela in May last year subsequent to which South African President Cyril Ramaphosa congratulated President Maduro following his inauguration for a second term as President.

President Maduro was sworn in for a second term earlier this month.

The Ambassador said any grievances or disputes should be resolved in a peaceful manner through the proper mechanisms and processes provided for in the constitution of Venezuela and its electoral laws, without external influence. 

“This is standard and indeed best practice, in all democracies that subscribe to the rule of law. South Africa echoes the statement made by the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres in Davos on 24 January 2019, where he urged a de-escalation of tensions to prevent violence,” said Matjila.

In addition, South Africa also supports the Secretary-General’s call for the urgent need for all relevant actors to commit to inclusive and credible political dialogue to address the protracted crisis in the country.

South Africa has called on all parties to participate in a national dialogue process to ensure unity and reconciliation, and in furtherance of a political solution to the situation. 

“We would like to reiterate that any further action or grievance by either party should be resolved through the due legal processes of the country,” said Ambassador Matjila, adding that South Africa is concerned about the humanitarian situation in that country.

It called on the international community, as well as the relevant UN bodies to work with the Venezuela government and its neighbours to assist those in need.  

Matjila called on the UNSC to promote avenues that create environments conducive to dialogue and cooperation that would ease the challenges and hardships faced by the people of Venezuela. -