Cape Town - President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed Deputy President Paul Mashatile to lead an inter-ministerial committee to look at various options for the country ahead of the visit by the Russian president for the BRICS summit.
The visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin has led to confusing messages in the country, but the Cabinet on Friday said South Africa was still a member of the International Criminal Court.
Minister in the Presidency for State Security Khumbudzo Ntshavheni also confirmed that they sent special envoys to Washington to meet with top Biden administration officials over the Putin visit.
Ntshavheni said there were a number of options on the table for South Africa in how to handle the Putin matter, and Mashatile will report back to Cabinet with recommendations on the ICC.
Ntshavheni, who was briefing the media after the Cabinet meeting on Friday, confirmed that South Africa remained a member of the ICC.
There was confusion this week when Ramaphosa and the ANC Secretary-General, Fikile Mbalula, said South Africa would withdraw from the ICC.
But they later backtracked and said the country was part of the ICC.
Ntshavheni said this position was reiterated by the Cabinet at its meeting.
“Cabinet reaffirmed South Africa’s participation in the ICC and confirmed that we remain a signatory to the Rome Statute. The President appointed the IMC, chaired by Paul Mashatile, that is considering various options on the matter of the ICC as it relates to the visit of some of our guests during the BRICS summit in the country,” said Ntshavheni.
She said South Africa was willing to engage all sides in the Ukraine conflict.
She said the reason they sent envoys to the US was also to engage with Washington as they have done with Russia.
Ntshavheni would not say who was part of the delegation to the US, but it was stated that Ramaphosa’s national security advisor Sydney Mufamadi was in Washington for the meetings.
She said they wanted to engage all sides, including the US.
“Our position, as South Africa, is that we must engage all parties to the conflict. The US is leading Nato, which is part of the conflict in Ukraine. Therefore, it’s important to engage with them.
“We have sent envoys to engage on how we find a peaceful resolution to the conflict. It’s not because we are afraid of being removed from AGOA (African Growth and Opportunity Act). It’s because we have a responsibility to ensure that there is a peaceful resolution of conflict across the world. We have indicated our decision to be non-aligned on this matter. The envoys are in the US to deal with those matters as part of negotiations,” said Ntshavheni.