Panel to probe SA’s alleged weapons’ sale to Russia met with mixed views

todayMay 29, 2023 57

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President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to appoint an independent panel to probe the allegations that South Africa sold weapons to Russia has received mixed reactions from opposition parties.
However, the one thing that all parties have echoed is the question of how is it that the President does not know what is happening in his his back yard.
Ramaphosa over the weekend announced the appointment of a three-member panel to probe claims that weapons of war were loaded onboard a Russian ship before it left Simon’s Town in Cape Town last year.
President’s spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, says the inquiry seeks to establish the circumstances that led to the docking of the ship and the alleged loading of cargo and the panel has six weeks to complete its investigations.
Congress of the People’s (COPE) Secretary of Communications, Dennis Bloem, says Ramaphosa is supposed to be on top of things and must just stop wasting taxpayers’ money.
The independent panel will consist of retired judge, Phineas Mojapelo, to lead an inquiry. He will be working alongside advocate Leah Gcabashe and the Former Basic Education Deputy Minister, Enver Surty.

The main opposition party, the DA, has concerns over Surty’s inclusion in the panel,  considering his close affiliation to the ANC.

DA Shadow Minister of Defense, Kobus Marais, says the moves undermines the integrity of the process.

Marais believes this will also create the perception that this investigation is a mere attempt to protect the ANC’s interests.
At the same time, Rise Mzansi Party Leader, Songezo Zibi, has welcomed the probe, saying his party hopes that it will uncover what really transpired in Simon’s Town in Cape Town last year.
Zibi has, however, also expressed concern over President Cyril Ramaphosa not really knowing whether or not such a transaction did take place.
Nevertheless in the spirit of goodwill, he says, he hopes this inquiry will bear fruit.
The US Ambassador to SA’s accusations have caused unmeasurable diplomatic tensions.
The rand reached a low of R19.32 against the dollar earlier this month. Levels that were last seen in April 2020, early in the COVID-19 pandemic.
It has also further sparked fears that South Africa might be excluded from the US’s Africa Growth and Opportunity Act when the trade deal expires in 2025.

Written by: Nokwazi Qumbisa

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