The National Security Special Advisor, Dr Sydney Mufamadi, has confirmed that the United States had alerted South Africa’s government weeks ago, prior to the US envoy’s trip, about allegations of weapons sold to Russia.
Dr Mufamadi briefed the media on his recent US trip, where he led a South African delegation to address a US House of Representatives resolution calling for a review of America’s relations with South Africa.
The trip took place as the US ambassador to South Africa, Reuben Brigety, made claims that arms and ammunition had been loaded onto a Russian ship in Simon’s Town, near Cape Town, in December last year.
Dr Mufamadi says, “Immediately upon becoming aware of this, and when I’m saying we, I’m speaking as the special envoy of the President, the President felt that he needs to understand this, get to the bottom of it. Our interlocutors got to know from us as to what it is that we are doing about this matter. Of course, they conveyed their concerns before we travelled to the US through our government. We are acting on this matter not only because we understand the consternation of our friends globally but also because it is in our own interest.”
Professor John Stremlau of Wits University’s International Relations Department believes the two countries are likely talking behind closed doors.
“It’s never too late for diplomatic channels to be rekindled, but at the same time, the frustration of having had this visit by the Lady R back in December and no accountability for, apparently, it assumed that there have been lots of communications back and forth between Washington and South Africa over concerns that America has been very vocal on and Brigety went public.”
President Ramaphosa’s Special Envoys brief the media after United States tour:
Meanwhile, a senior US official told SABC News on Thursday that it would be wise for countries to step back from any kind of engagement with the Russian military but would not be drawn on whether any possible punitive measures were being considered.
Washington continues to take a dim view of countries supporting Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, saying it would continue to engage on the importance of upholding the UN Charter.