Sanctioned Russian aircraft landing at Waterkloof Air Force Base reveals SA’s pro-Russia stance

Issued by Kobus Marais MP – DA Shadow Minister of Defence and Military Affairs
05 May 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached Afrikaans and English soundbites by Kobus Marais MP.

In another apparent and overt example of South Africa’s pro-Russsia foreign policy, a military aircraft owned by Aviacon Zitotrans, one of the commercial airlines under sanctions by the US treasury, quietly landed at Waterkloof Air Force Base, on 24 April.

The DA will write to the Minister of Defence and ask her to provide a detailed explanation as to why this aircraft was allowed to land at Waterkloof and whether it is normal practice for goods to be brought in via the air force base for any foreign missions.

The USA and UK placed sanctions on Aviacon Zitotrans on January 26 for its involvement in transporting armaments and components on behalf of the Russian armed forces.

This landing follows the ANC government’s continued refusal to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at world forums. This cosy friendship has seen a joint naval exercise off the KwaZulu-Natal coast in February and in December, a Russian cargo vessel is alleged to have docked in Simon’s Town Naval Base carrying unknown cargo.

If the necessary clearances were not done, we view this as a serious breach of protocol and security.

South Africa has a responsibility to ensure that our airspace and military bases are not used for purposes that are in contravention of our laws and international obligations. The DA is committed to upholding these obligations and taking all necessary measures to prevent any future incidents of this nature.

We will not stop calling out our government’s support of Russia while millions of Ukrainians are suffering.