Lady R: Ramaphosa desperately treads water

Issued by Emma Louise Powell MP – DA Shadow Minister for International Relations and Cooperation
14 May 2023 in News

As the international community grows increasingly concerned about South Africa’s dalliance with Moscow, the United States of America have now issued a stern diplomatic warning shot to the Executive to come clean and change course.

More than five months have passed without confirmation from the President or his Defense Minister as to exactly what transpired when Lady R, a sanctioned Russian vessel, docked in Simon’s Town under the cover of night.

It is clear that both President Ramaphosa and Minister Modise know exactly what transpired in December and are now desperately treading water. By announcing that a Judge will be called out of retirement to conduct an investigation, the ANC are simply kicking for touch in what appears to be a desperate scramble to manage this fast unfolding diplomatic crisis.

In order to shore up party-political funding from war mongers, the ANC have played Russian roulette with 100 000 jobs and billions of rands worth of trade currently protected by the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

Make no mistake, this week’s revelations by American Ambassador Reuben Brigety, were designed to send a definitive message to Ramaphosa’s cabinet that aiding and abetting Russian aggression will have dire consequences for the South African economy.

This growing impasse also risks South Africa being relegated to the dustbin of history alongside the likes of North Korea and Iran – both of whom are under US sanction for their supply of arms to the Russian Federation.

As Russia grows increasingly desperate for ammunition to continue their war of aggression in Ukraine, it is clear that they are willing to accept munitions scraps from any willing sponsor.

By providing ammunition to Russia, South Africa would be directly aiding and abetting the use of force against Ukraine. This is a serious violation of international law.

Article 2 (4) of the United Nations Charter prohibits the threat or use of force and calls on all Members to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of other States.

Article 2 (5) of the Charter states that Members shall refrain from giving assistance to a State against which the United Nations is taking preventive or enforcement action.

The General Assembly of the United Nations has already recognized that Russia has committed aggression against Ukraine.

As the geopolitical sands continue to shift, South Africa must now take a firm position on the global stage. Our Nation’s key foreign policy objectives must be to promote and uphold the principles of the UN Charter, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, whilst advancing our key domestic, economic and security objectives.

The plagues of despotism, genocide, and war are only defeated when democracies work together to preserve a rules based international order that respects the right to self-determination and the principle of territorial sovereignty.

South Africa simply cannot be complicit in a war of aggression that now risks undermining both our domestic priorities and international peace and security.

The message to the President is now clear: come clean and shift course, or the United States will do so on your behalf.