Media Statement

25 February 2019

South Africa deposits its Instrument of Ratification of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Today, 25 February 2019, South Africa will join a growing number of states in submitting its Instrument of Ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) to the United Nations (UN) in New York.

The historic Treaty was adopted by a vote of 122 States in favour at the UN on 07 July 2017. On 20 September 2017, the Secretary-General of the UN Treaty opened the treaty for signatures. South Africa signed the Treaty at a signing ceremony held on the margins of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

The Treaty will enter into force 90 days after 50 States have ratified or acceded to it. As of today, 22 States have deposited their instruments of ratification with the UN. South Africa will join these Parties today.

Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said: “South Africa's ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons sends a positive signal of our continued commitment towards the achievement of a world free from the threat posed by nuclear weapons and ensuring that nuclear energy is used solely for peaceful purposes.” 

The Treaty seeks to establish an international norm, de-legitimising and stigmatising the possession of nuclear weapons. It aims to contribute towards achieving the objective set out in the very first resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1946 to eliminate all weapons of mass destruction.

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.

Minister Sisulu added that: “Given its unique history, as the first country to have eliminated all its nuclear weapons, South Africa is proud to have played a leading role in this process together with a vast majority of States and members of civil society that actively contributed to the process and the adoption of this Treaty.

“While we celebrate this historic achievement, we are fully aware that much work remains to be done to achieve our goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. Beyond the entry into force of this Treaty and working towards its universalisation, we will not relent in our efforts towards securing the full implementation of the commitments made by State Parties in fulfilment of their NPT obligations, particularly the nuclear disarmament obligations that have been neglected for too long.”

Enquiries: Mr Ndivhuwo Mabaya, [email protected] / 083 645 7838




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