The Democratic Alliance (DA) has expressed its intention to challenge any plans by President Cyril Ramaphosa to classify the findings of an inquiry into whether arms were loaded onto a Russian ship last year.
This after the Presidency announced that the report will not be publicised.
Last month, President Ramaphosa appointed a panel to probe claims made by the US ambassador to South Africa Reuben Brigety that a Russian ship had taken weapons and ammunition on board in the Western Cape.
Party leader John Steenhuisen says, “I cannot imagine why you would keep the terms of reference classified and why you would not be prepared to release the report. It is very clear that this report is paid for by public money. It is being funded by the public purse, therefore the report should naturally be made public. Additionally, how do we, parliamentarians, hold those responsible accountable if we are not furnished with the report? We have a duty to hold the executive accountable.”
Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year. A Russian vessel, the “Lady R” docked in Simonstown in December last year and Brigety alleges it was loaded with South African ammunition.
The South African government has undertaken to institute an independent inquiry to be led by a retired judge into allegations by the US Ambassador to Pretoria sent arms to Russia.
The Presidency condemned Brigety’s remarks, saying he did not follow diplomatic channels when he made allegations against the country.
The Presidency has disputed the allegations, saying it has no knowledge of any weapons being loaded onto a Russian ship and that if this happened it would have been illegal.
The International Relations Department has since confirmed that Brigety has apologised for making a public statement on the matter.
Spokesperson Clayson Monyela said, “Ambassador Reuben Brigety admitted that he crossed the line and apologised unreservedly to the government and people of South Africa. South Africa is known globally for having one of the most stringent processes when selling arms to other countries. The process is managed by the National Convention Arms Control Committee which was created through an Act of Parliament.”
VIDEO | Cyril Ramaphosa says Ambassador Reuben Brigety’s conduct was distasteful: