President Cyril Ramaphosa expects to receive a final report within two weeks from the three-member independent panel he has appointed to investigate United States (US) allegations against South Africa.
The allegations relate to US ambassador to South Africa Reuben Brigety’s remarks that a Russian ship, which docked at a naval base in Simonstown in the Western Cape in December last year, took aboard weapons from South Africa.
However, South Africa has denied this.
The panel comprises retired Judge Phineas Mojapelo as the chairperson, the chairperson of the Johannesburg Society of Advocates, Leah Gcabashe as well as former Basic Education Deputy Minister Enver Surty.
“The panel has been tasked to establish persons who were aware of the cargo ship’s arrival and, if any, the contents to be off-loaded or loaded, the departure and destination of the cargo. Furthermore, the panel will evaluate whether constitutional, legal or other obligations were complied with in relation to the cargo ship’s arrival, its stay, the loading or off-loading of its contents and its departure,” says the Presidency in a statement.
US ambassador to South Africa, Reuben Brigety has since apologised for the allegations he made:
Meanwhile, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen says a swift and equivocal response from the President would have been better than instituting a commission of inquiry.
“Let’s face up, admit to it, and let’s apologise and clarify. It we haven’t let’s provide evidence but we haven’t done that. Why now do we have to go through the charade of yet another commission of inquiry that’s going to produce a report that will be submitted to the President, along with the Seriti, Farlam and Zondo commissions?”