The declaration by United States Ambassador to South Africa, Reuben Brigety, that war materials and ammunition were loaded onto sanctioned Russian ship, Lady R, which departed South Africa’s naval base in Simon’s Town in December 2022, is a chilling and deeply troubling confirmation that President Cyril Ramaphosa and his government are actively involved in the Russian Federation’s war on Ukraine.
When I confronted President Ramaphosa in today’s sitting of the National Assembly, requesting that he confirm, once and for all, to South Africa and the world, whether war materials from South Africa were indeed loaded onto the Lady R, a sanctioned ship that should never have been permitted to enter South African waters, the President refused to answer me.
I will be writing to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, to table an urgent debate of national importance on South Africa’s involvement in Russia’s war on Ukraine, and the dire economic consequences South Africa faces as a result of this violation of international law, and South Africa’s own Constitutional-based foreign policy.
This development proves not only that South Africa is not non-aligned in Russia’s war on Ukraine, but that President Ramaphosa and his government have already lied to South Africa and the world as to our country’s involvement in this devastating conflict.
In two replies to DA parliamentary questions, on the 23rd of October and the 18th of November 2022 respectively, both then Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Thandi Modise, and Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele, denied that South African arms manufacturers had supplied weapons to the Russian Federation and that Armaments Corporation of South Africa had sold arms and ammunition, propellant powder and/or explosives to the Russian Federation.
Confirmation by US intelligence in South Africa that the Lady R vessel departed Simon’s Town after having been loaded with war materials now brings into question the transparency of the ANC national government with the South African people and our international partners.
To put the gravity of this development into perspective, the South African government has jeopardised close to 77% of foreign direct investment stock in South Africa in recent years from the European Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States, including hundreds of billions of rands in trade, for a country with whom our trade is only around 0,3%. This also jeopardises South Africa’s preferential access to the US market under the auspices of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
With our economy on its knees and rampant unemployment, the ANC is now forsaking South Africa’s last chance at economic renewal based solely on greed and personal interest.
The ANC is siding with Russia for one reason alone: because the Russian Federation is funding the ANC, and thus infiltrating and destabilising South African democracy.
The Russian war on Ukraine has ravaged the Ukrainian nation and led to mass migration, human displacement, and widespread human rights abuses.
South Africa’s support and involvement of this war indicates that the ANC-led national government has trampled on the values and principles espoused in our human rights-based Constitution, in favour of a global war-mongerer and despot.
More worryingly, it signals that under the ANC, South Africa has regressed into a nation that has abandoned the principles of freedom, fairness, and equality.
The ANC has sacrificed everything that we fought to achieve in 1994 for the whims of President Vladimir Putin.