Washington gives the ANC government an ultimatum – choose Putin or the South African economy

Issued by Emma Louise Powell MP – DA Shadow Minister of International Relations and Cooperation
13 Jun 2023 in News

Please find attached a soundbite by Emma Louise Powell MP.

A formal request from a group of high-ranking congressmen to the United States Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, encouraging the State Department to reconsider hosting the upcoming AGOA Forum in South Africa is the clearest indication yet that patience in Washington is fast diminishing.

The ANC government has now been presented with a clear choice – denounce Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine, or risk triggering thousands of job losses and tanking the economy. What South Africa does in the next few days will mean the difference between economic chaos or the preservation of what is essentially the most important trade alliance for the country.

To date, the ANC has justified their failure to condemn Russia’s invasion of a sovereign state under the auspices of ‘non-alignment’. This is intellectually dishonest given the mounting evidence that ANC are in fact not practicing their own policy. In February, on the anniversary of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, South Africa hosted joint military exercises with Russia and China. In April, a sanctioned freight aircraft was permitted to land at Waterkloof military base. In May, the Commander of the South African ground forces, Lieutenant-General Lawrence Mbatha led a delegation to Russia to discuss “issues relating to military cooperation and interaction”. Last week, the inquiry into allegations that South Africa supplied weapons to Russia in December was classified by the Presidency.

The ANC’s Russian Roulette has already had dire consequences for the economy. Last week, Formula 1 (F1) pulled the plug on hosting this prestigious event in South Africa as a result of the country’s failure to denounce Russian aggression in Ukraine. Hundreds of millions of rands worth of foreign direct investment and advertising revenue for South African firms have already been lost as a result.

South Africa now risks losing R60-billion worth of exports, and a positive trade balance with the United States currently protected under AGOA because of the ANC’s dalliance with Moscow. The United States long-standing relationship with South Africa is based on the principle of benefaction. Whilst China is indeed South Africa’s largest single-county trading partner, this relationship is not based on benefaction. Last year, South Africa’s trade deficit to China amounted to R177.89 billion. Trade with Russia accounts for as little as 0.3% of our country’s trade ties. These are not just numbers, they are a bread-and-butter reality for millions of South Africans.

South Africa’s exclusion from AGOA will destroy thousands of businesses, farms and jobs – and those invested in South Africa’s success must do everything in our power to prevent this from happening.

The Premier of the Western Cape, Alan Winde, is currently in Washington to assure the US government that the province remains committed to the terms of AGOA. The DA has launched court action to compel the South African government to arrest Vladimir Putin in August should arrive at the BRICS Summit and Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) applications have also been launched to obtain full information related to allegations that weapons were loaded onto Lady R in December.

As the DA continues to meet with and remind foreign missions that the ANC does not represent the will of the South African people, we will keep shining the torch of freedom, justice and democracy for our Nation.

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