Cape Town – The Democratic Alliance (DA) has criticised State Security Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni for attending a high-level security meeting in Russia.
Ntshavheni is this week headed to Moscow where she will join officials from several countries at the Russian Federation’s 11th annual security conference.
The meeting, which is billed as the international meeting of high-level officials responsible for security matters, takes place from Tuesday to Thursday (23 to 25 May) and closely follows the flurry of diplomacy which emerged from the G7 summit held in Japan over the weekend.
Delegates will discuss general trends in the international security situation, including global food security.
Ntshavheni will further engage with relevant authorities on matters material to the initiatives announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa of the African Leaders’ Peace Mission to Russia and Ukraine.
However, the DA believes that the visit is another diplomatic blunder by the government and may isolate South Africa from important international partners.
ALSO READ | Ntshavheni dispels ‘false impression’ of SA’s anti-US stance
The party expressed concern about the timing of the meeting, especially in light of recent claims made by the US Ambassador in South Africa Reuben Brigety regarding alleged ammunition supply to Russia by South Africa.
“Given the recent claims made by the US Ambassador in South Africa regarding alleged ammunition supply to Russia by South Africa, this visit is yet another diplomatic blunder that could cost South Africa dearly.
“In her budget speech on Friday, the minister made much of the wonderful relationship South Africa has with the US, ‘our biggest trading partner’, and now this.
The timing of this meeting is highly concerning and raises serious questions about the government’s commitment to responsible diplomacy, national security, and non-alignment,” said DA state security spokesperson Dianne Kohler Barnard.
The DA emphasised the need for caution and consideration when engaging with Russia, particularly given the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, in order to protect South Africa’s international reputation.
“The DA calls on the government to prioritise the national security of our nation – while protecting our country’s diplomatic standing. It is essential for the government to provide clear and unequivocal responses to the allegations of arms supply to Russia, reassuring the public and the international community of South Africa’s commitment to responsible defence practices,” Barnard said.
Follow African Insider on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
For more African news, visit Africaninsider.com
Compiled by Betha Madhomu