Top ANC officials to discuss SA’s stance on Russia-Ukraine war

President Cyril Ramaphosa has moved forward a meeting of top officials to discuss, among other things, South Africa’s stance on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

This comes after the department of international relations and cooperation and the ANC’s sub-committee on international affairs sent out statements contradicting each other over the governing party’s position on the invasion. 

Two sources in the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) said the national working committee (NWC) meeting later on Monday is being held to discuss South Africa’s position regarding the war and the sanctions on Russia brought by the European Union and the United States. 

ANC treasurer general Paul Mashatile cancelled his meeting with business on Monday morning to attend the NWC meeting. Mashatile was scheduled to deliver a keynote address on last week’s budget. He was replaced by Deputy Finance Minister David Masondo. 

Both NEC members said the statement by International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor would also be discussed when the NWC sits.  

This comes after Pandor and the department released a statement last week calling for President Vladimir Putin to withdraw his forces from Ukraine.

The Sunday Times reported that Ramaphosa was unhappy with Pandor’s statement because it contradicted South Africa’s position that negotiation was needed to end the conflict. 

In a previous statement by the minister, the ANC’s position was that of urging all parties to “devote increased efforts to diplomacy” and to find a solution that would help quell tensions.

“All parties have much to gain from a negotiated outcome and much to lose from an unnecessary and violent conflict,” said Pandor.

She said the United Nations Security Council, which is this month chaired by Russia, should play a “central role” in the search for peace.

“The [United Nations Security Council] is the body given the mandate for maintenance of international peace and security and it must exercise its role fully. As South Africa, we believe all the issues of concern to any of the parties must be addressed in inclusive talks led by the United Nations General Assembly,” Pandor said.

“The world does not need another war as that will result in death and destruction, hence our call for enhanced diplomacy.”

The ANC also released a statement calling for commitment to dialogue and peaceful resolution of the conflict. 

“The ANC strongly believes that it must be the parties, who are directly involved in the conflict, that must not only commit but come to the negotiating table for resolution of such conflict. 

“History is littered with wars that have been ended or even averted through negotiations. However the dismal failure of the UN cannot be swept under the carpet, more so…when some world leaders are openly biased in their judgement. What is further strange, is that for over eight years of shelling civilians, nobody has ever been investigated, prosecuted and found either guilty or innocent,” said NEC member Lindiwe Zulu.  

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe was unavailable for comment.

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Lizeka Tandwa
Lizeka Tandwa
Lizeka Tandwa is a political journalist with a keen interest in local government.

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