Ramaphosa says South Africa will not be dragged into U.S.-Russia proxy war
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa answers questions in parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, May 11, 2023. The U.S. ambassador to South Africa, Reuben Brigety, said the U.S. government was certain Russia got weapons from South Africa and that they were loaded onto a cargo ship that docked secretly at a naval base near Cape Town for three days in December. Ramaphosa said he will investigate the claim, but declared South Africa will not be dragged into the conflict between the U.S. and Russia. | AP

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa insisted on Thursday that his country will not be drawn into the contest between the world’s superpowers.

In a speech in Krugersdorp, west of Johannesburg, to commemorate Africa Day, Ramaphosa said that the African continent was often dragged into conflicts that were far beyond their borders and which had little to do with them.

He said South Africa would continue to follow its independent and non-aligned foreign policy.

Ramaphosa said: “South Africa has not been and will not be drawn into a contest between global powers. We will maintain our position on the peaceful resolution of conflict wherever those conflicts occur.”

South Africa’s relationship with the United States, a key trade ally, has come under pressure since Pretoria took a non-aligned stance in the Russian war against Ukraine.

The situation soured further after the U.S. Ambassador to South Africa, Reuben Brigety, accused Pretoria earlier this month of selling arms to Russia. Ramaphosa agreed to investigate the claim but said there was no evidence to support the allegations.

South Africa has a historical relationship with Russia, connected to the old Soviet Union’s military and political support for the African National Congress when it was a liberation movement fighting to end the racist apartheid regime.

In his Thursday speech, the president said countries, including South Africa, were being “threatened with penalties” for pursuing an “independent foreign policy” and for adopting a position of non-alignment.

Ramaphosa said the continent had painful memories of foreign superpowers conducting “proxy wars on African soil.”

Pretoria is also under pressure for saying that it does not intend to arrest Russian President Vladimir Putin, due to visit the country later this year for the BRICS economy summit.

The International Criminal Court has issued a warrant for Putin’s arrest in connection with the Ukraine conflict.

Morning Star


Roger McKenzie
Roger McKenzie

Roger McKenzie is the International Editor of Morning Star, Britain’s daily socialist newspaper. He is the author of the book "African Uhuru: The Fight for African Freedom in the Rise of the Global South" published by Manifesto Press.