Cape Town – A petition started last week by South Africans calling on government not to get involved in the deadly conflict between Russia and Ukraine, has amassed more than 27 000 signatures to date.
South Africans last week reacted to the Department of International Relations (Dirco) statement that called on Russia to “immediately” withdraw its forces from Ukraine.
This was after Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered a “special military operation” in Ukraine after formally recognising two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine, saying that there was a need to demilitarise the country.
The Russian attack on Ukraine killed dozens, as airstrikes hit military installations and ground forces moved in from the north, south, and east of Ukraine.
“South Africa calls on Russia to immediately withdraw its forces from Ukraine in line with the United Nations Charter, which enjoins all member states to settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice are not endangered,” said Minister Naledi Pandor in a statement.
However, South Africans express their concern and asked the minister which South Africa she was talking about?
As many South Africans continued to voice their concerns that the country might be involved in the escalating conflict, a petition was started, which asked the government to help South African citizens in Ukraine and “not to get involved in the war”.
“South Africa is a country born of negotiation, and tolerance. Whilst we are always in support of a cooperative manner of operating in the global sphere, it is important to understand that we are still a young democracy.
“In what has been perceived as a looming World War III, that could start from Russia and Ukraine being at loggerheads, it is important firstly for the South African government, represented by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, to ensure the safety of South Africans in the Ukraine,” read the petition.
It continued: “DIRCO needs to safely return South Africans who are stuck in the Ukraine. Many of these South Africans are young students and the future of this country.
“Secondly, it is vital for DIRCO, and the South African government at large, as a nation built by the people, and a government voted in by the people of South Africa, to take heed of South Africans’ cry to not get involved in the war between Russia and Ukraine.
“South Africa has no business being involved in an impending World War III. Minister Naledi Pandor, please bring our people back. Bring our children, brothers, sisters and parents back. Do not get involved in this war.
“We as South Africans have our own problems, and we do not want to sacrifice any South African lives to a war that we have no business being involved in.”
Meanwhile, News24 reported on Monday that the ANC’s international relations subcommittee was expected to throw the book at Pandor during a meeting on Monday after she raised the ire of President Cyril Ramaphosa for a statement calling for Russia to immediately withdraw from Ukraine.
“The president did not see the statement before it was issued and does not agree with it. There are people within Dirco with an agenda that we must be enemies with Russia,” a highly placed insider in the Union Buildings was quoted as saying.
Picture: Getty Images
Compiled by Betha Madhomu