Political analyst, Professor Sam Koma, says the calls for the sacking of US Ambassador to South Africa , Reuben Brigety, are justified following the state-sanctioned report on his Russia weapons sale claims.
Brigety came under fire after he took to social media, claiming that there were weapons loaded on board the Russian ship, Lady R, that docked Simons town in Cape Town last year.
President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed a three-member independent panel in May to inquire into the circumstances of the docking of the Russian vessel, known as Lady R.
The panel found that the ship docked to deliver equipment that had been ordered for the South African National Defense Force (SANDF) in 2018 by Armscor.
Koma says the fabrication could have been used to force South Africa to ditch its quiet diplomacy in the Russia-Ukraine conflict and possibly isolate Pretoria from the international community.
“The call for the recall of the US ambassador is justifiable based on the outcome of this panel report. This reminds me of the invasion of Iraq by the US based on the claim of weapons of mass destruction made by the US intelligence community back in 2002, and later revealed the claim was based on fabrication. We may have the same situation here,” adds the scholar.
Announcing the outcomes of the panel report, President Cyril Ramaphosa bemoaned the effect these allegations have had on South Africa.
“The allegations leveled against our country had the most damaging effect on our currency, economy and our standing in the world,” he said.
Ramaphosa rehashed South Africa’s laws that regulate the import and exportating of conventional arms.
“All relevant permits had been obtained for the importation of the equipment that was delivered by the ship. No permit was issued for the export of arms and no arms were exported.”
The President says the panel did, however, called for the improvement of communication between all spheres of government, including the adequacy of the relevant administrative processes.
According to Ramaphosa, as part of the panel’s probe – evidence from nearly 50 people was obtained; more than 100 documents were submitted and a number of entities and person who publicly claimed to have information were also approached.
Ramaphosa also announced that the report will not be published publicly.
“Given the fact that the evidence given to the panel was classified and the fact that revealing the details of the equipment off-loaded could jeopardize the work and safety of South Africa’s forces in various deployment in the continent, I have decided not to release the Panel’s full report.”
Written by: Lindiwe Mpanza