Former President, Thabo Mbeki, is the latest senior official to dismiss the claims that South Africa armed Russia in its war with Ukraine last year.
Mbeki says South Africa does not produce the sophisticated weapons that Russians use in wars.
South Africa made international headlines when US Ambassador to South Africa, Reuben Brigety, made the damning allegations that weapons of war were loaded onboard a Russian ship before it left Simon’s Town, in Cape Town, in December 2022.
Below Brigety swears on his life that weapons were provided to Russia:
Geopolitical tensions and the concomitant diplomatic row between the United States and South Africa have intensified after US ambassador to Pretoria
Reuben Brigety accused the host country of covertly providing arms to Russia – a new charge that drew an angry rebuke from the… pic.twitter.com/kMq4WKQqnS
— TheNewsHawks (@NewsHawksLive) May 11, 2023
The former President says the law in South Africa does not allow for the export of weapons to countries that are in conflict.
He, however, says if it did happen then the people involved must be criminally charged.
His remarks come amid a quagmire South Africa finds itself in following the International Criminal Court’s decision to issue a warrant of arrest for Russian President, Vladimir Putin.
Putin is among the delegates who are scheduled to attend the BRICS summit that will be held in Cape Town in August.
South Africa, which is a signatory of the Rome Statute, is obliged to arrest the Russian President should he attend.
Mbeki is of the view that the BRICS countries must agree to hold the summit, chaired by South Africa, in one of the other BRICS countries or virtually.
He says South Africa cannot behave like a lawless country that defies its laws.
“We can’t say to President Putin, come to South Africa and then we arrest him and at the same time we can’t say come to South Africa and not arrest him,” said Mbeki.
Should Putin visit South Africa without consequence, it wouldn’t be the first time for Pretoria to not arrest a Head of State whose wanted for war crimes.
In 2015, South Africa granted Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir, immunity from arrest when he attended the African Union summit held in Sandton, in a move that sparked a public outcry.
Written by: Lindiwe Mpanza