Ramaphosa appoints senior Cabinet Ministers as G7 envoys over Russian affair

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published May 31, 2023


President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor and Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana as his envoys to the G7 to explain South Africa’s position on the Ukraine conflict.

Ramaphosa said they have always maintained from the start of the conflict last year in February that they were non-aligned.

However, the country has been slammed for its stance in the war.

Ramaphosa said they will continue with their independent positions in global affairs.

He said South Africa will be hosting the BRICS summit in August in Johannesburg and this was an important organisation for the country.

Pretoria is under pressure from the international community to arrest Russian President Vladimir Putin when he arrives for the summit.

But the Department of International Relations and Cooperation issued diplomatic immunity for all leaders of BRICS attending the summit.

President Xi Jinping of China, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil, Narendra Modi of India and Putin are all expected to attend the meeting.

The department of international relations said it was not the first time it has issued diplomatic immunity for major conferences.

Ramaphosa recently sent his national security adviser Sydney Mufamadi to the US to explain the country’s position.

Senior officials from Washington were also in Pretoria recently on these matters.

A group of senior military and defence secretariat officials are expected to travel to the US.

Minister in the Presidency responsible for State Security, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni was in Russia last week, where she attended a meeting of senior officials on security matters.

Ramaphosa, who was delivering his budget vote speech in Parliament on Wednesday, said they were non-aligned on the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

“Where concerns are raised about our commitment to our non-aligned position, we have addressed them directly and openly. In this regard, I will be sending the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, the Minister of Finance and the Minister in the Presidency as my envoys to the G7 countries to explain our peace mission and to deal with various diplomatic matters. Our engagements with a number of those countries on these matters have already drawn a lot of understanding and support,” said Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa is also expected to join five African leaders on a peace mission to Moscow and Kyiv.

Both Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, have agreed to meet with the leaders of Senegal, Uganda, Zambia, Egypt and Congo-Brazzaville.

It was expected the meetings in Moscow and Kyiv will happen in June.

[email protected]

Current Affairs