Mbalula says government will decide on Putin

ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula. Picture:Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula. Picture:Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jun 22, 2023


Cape Town - ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula says they will leave the issue of Russian President Vladimir Putin, on whether he will come to South Africa for the BRICS summit or not, in the hands of government.

The government has been trying to deal with the issue of Putin in the last few months.

President Cyril Ramaphosa had even appointed his deputy Paul Mashatile to lead an inter-ministerial committee to deal with Putin’s visit.

The International Criminal Court has an arrest warrant out for Putin over Russia’s alleged illegal deportation of children from Ukraine into Russia during the ongoing conflict.

South Africa is a signatory to the Rome Statute, an international agreement that binds member states to arrest war criminals.

There were even reports that South Africa was trying to get China to host the BRICS to avoid the visit by Putin.

Mbalula said they will wait for government on the decision it will take regarding the Russian leader.

“It is better to be organised to allow government to lead because it is government that will determine whether President Putin can come or not come. Our position as a party, which is our position, is that BRICS must succeed.

“Obviously, in implementing this decision they have got this part, which they themselves based on empirical evidence before them, they will then make a determination about what needs to happen. We leave it to government. The president, the minister (of International Relations and Cooperation) and Cabinet are leading in that regard. We have full confidence that at some point they will take the nation into confidence on the matter how they are handling it. We are looking forward to BRICS,” said Mbalula.

Ramaphosa was in Ukraine and Russia at the weekend on a peace mission.

He said there will be follow up engagements with both Putin and the president of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky.

Ramaphosa said they will meet with Putin during the Russia-Africa summit in St Petersburg in July.

In the meeting period they will meet with Zelensky.

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