South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, is set to deliberate on the next steps following US Ambassador Reuben Brigety’s allegations that South Africa facilitated arms sales to Russia.
Earlier in May, Ambassador Brigety claimed that South Africa was complicit in Russia’s conflict in Ukraine. He further alleged that arms were transferred to a Russian vessel at the Simon’s Town naval base in December.
Yet, a subsequent independent inquiry found no substantiating evidence for these accusations. This was confirmed in a summary made public by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“Following the release of the findings from the Investigation Panel into the Lady R incident, the department will engage in comprehensive consultations. Based on these, a decision will be made regarding the US ambassador, if deemed necessary. This decision will consider the broader implications on our bilateral ties with the US and the nation’s foreign policy priorities,” Pandor was quoted in a report.
The allegations have stirred reactions from various political factions. Notably, parties such as the EFF and SACP have demanded the expulsion of the US ambassador, citing his public remarks made without concrete evidence. This has strained the diplomatic ties between South Africa and the United States.
However, in a testament to the resilience of their relationship, both nations have confirmed their commitment to co-host the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) summit, scheduled to take place in Johannesburg this coming November.