South Africa was recently included as a member of the BRICS grouping. South Africa's formal association with the powerful original members suggests that it possesses some international clout. Although South Africa pursues an active foreign policy, for example, as a region organizer, notably through New Partnership for Africa's Development, and as an issue leader championing development-related concerns, the normative direction of South Africa's international involvement has been unclear and often contradictory. This article illustrates how South Africa adheres to and departs from liberal principles when involved in the global politics of development. Middlepowership and domestic politics are identified as two sources of pressure on the liberal aspects of South African foreign policy.