US, SA Spat | Pretoria urged to take a firm stance

todayMay 19, 2023 78

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Former Ambassador to Algeria, Botsang Moiloa, has lashed out at government for not taking a stronger stance against US ambassador to South Africa, Reuben Brigety, for the reputational damage he has caused the country.
This follows Brigety’s recent meeting with ANC Secretary General, Fikile Mbalula, where he reiterated his apology for his controversial claims that South Africa had sold weapons to Russia, boosting its war against Ukraine.
Last week, he met with International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor to apologise for not using diplomatic avenues to express the unsubstantiated claims.
The allegations painted the country in bad light, as it has on several occasions declared itself neutral in the Russia-Ukraine war.
Moiloa, says South Africa is treating the US with kid gloves.
He believes that Pretoria should have asked Bridgety to apologise formally through a press briefing and then be shown the door.
While the importance of embassies in foreign countries cannot be ignored as they provide a means of communication between the two states, among other things, Moiloa, says correct protocol must be followed when there are concerns.
He says his annoyance is mainly due to the fact that this wasn’t the first time that the American Embassy raised the alarm over unfounded claims about South Africa.
Earlier this year, the US embassy warned its citizens that they must prepare for the worst, after President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a ‘State of Disaster’ over load shedding.
American citizens in the country were advised to stock up on supplies, including non-perishable food, and liters of water, in anticipation of the worst.
Government quickly came out to put off the alarm, rubbishing the security alert and the suggestion that the South Africa was headed for disaster.
The move had been preceded by a warning from Washington to its citizens in South Africa about  a “possible terrorist attack” in Sandton, Johannesburg.
Moiloa says while the right to protect citizens cannot be undermined, the correct channels must be followed, in order to avoid causing unnecessary panic.


Meanwhile the ANC says Brigety and Mbalula have agreed to a follow-up bilateral meeting with the ANC’s NEC Subcommittee on International Relations following the fallout.

Mbalula has also reiterated South Africa’s neutral stance in the war between Russia and Ukraine.

Pretoria wants mediation in the matter so that both parties can find a lasting solution to their problems.


Written by: Nokwazi Qumbisa

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