Cape Town – The ANC is set to meet with the US ambassador to South Africa Reuben Brigety, this week.
Brigety said last week he would bet his life on South Africa having supplied a Russian ship docked at Simon’s Town Naval Base with arms and ammunition.
“We are confident that weapons were loaded onto that vessel and I would bet my life on the accuracy of that assertion,” Brigety said.
“The arming of Russia by South Africa … is fundamentally unacceptable.”
But South Africa slammed the charge, with Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Vincent Magwenya saying: “The ambassador’s remarks undermine the spirit of cooperation and partnership [between the two countries.
Brigety has since apologised for his tone but has not withdrawn the allegation.
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The ANC said it will engage with Brigety this week.
“With regards to the US, we are going to meet with the US ambassador to understand him quite closely in terms of the issues that he has raised about the African National Congress.
“In our view, a diplomat must understand, especially a superpower like the US, the separation between party approach and government. We had a briefing from the envoy with security adviser Sydney Mufamadi about our government engagement in the US and we were quite delighted with the engagement. We were taken aback by the comments of the ambassador, for which he apologised,” said ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula during a press briefing.
According to Times Live, Brigety said the US had been noting the hostility of the ANC towards Washington as per its resolutions adopted at the last elective conference, which blamed the war in Ukraine on US’ foreign policy and the expansion of Nato.
He also described what was contained in the ANC resolution document as “patently false”, “outrageous” statements.
“Our senior government officials noted with great concern the 55th national conference report and resolutions from the ANC’s conference…,” said Brigety.
US ambassador to South Africa Rueben E Brigety on the ANC’s hostility against the United States of America which is one of their concerns. He even read from the ANC’s latest conference resolution document to illustrate his point. @SundayTimesZA @TimesLIVE pic.twitter.com/poNcR7dD0a
— Isaac Mahlangu (@IsaacPat) May 11, 2023
After mulling over Brigety’s comments the ANC has chosen not to be swayed by its alliance partner, the SA Communist Party, (SACP) which called for him to be booted out of the country, Daily Maverick reported.
The ruling party decided to send Mbalula and First Deputy Secretary-General Nomvula Mokonyane to engage with Brigety this week, the report said.
Speaking to broadcaster eNCA on Monday, SACP national spokesperson Alex Mashilo said he believed US operatives were spying on South Africa and Brigety was within that operation.
“How would an ambassador who represents a foreign country in our country make such claims without such claims coming from rogue intelligence networks? If you look at it, clearly the functions of some intelligence work … they are definitely spying on South Africa and the information is used from those spying activities to make the allegations,” said Mashilo.
He said the SACP has not seen Brigety’s apology.
“We have not seen his apology, and we have not seen him tender his apology. I doubt you have heard him tender his apology, or you have seen any written piece of word.
“What we know is that our Department of International Relations and Co-operation came out to say they had an interaction with him and he regretted acting in the manner he did, which we characterise as acting hysterically,” said Mashilo.
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Compiled by Betha Madhomu