Johannesburg — There are no plans for South Africa to quit the International Criminal Court as earlier suggested by President Cyril Ramaphosa, his office said on Tuesday, citing a communication error from the ruling ANC party.
“The presidency wishes to clarify that South Africa remains a signatory to the Rome Statute… This clarification follows an error in a comment made during a media briefing held by the governing African National Congress (ANC),” Ramaphosa’s office said in a late-night statement.
Ramaphosa had earlier Tuesday told a media briefing that his ANC party had resolved that South Africa should quit the ICC, which last month issued an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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The ICC arrest warrant meant that Pretoria — due to host the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa bloc summit this year — would have to detain Putin on arrival.
Answering a journalist’s question during a joint media conference with the visiting President of Finland Sauli Niinisto, Ramaphosa said the ANC “has taken that decision that it is prudent that South Africa should pull out of the ICC”.
The ANC had earlier held a media briefing, following a weekend meeting of its national executive council, where it said the issue of South Africa withdrawing from the ICC was raised.
ANC secretary general Fikile Mbalula said that the “ICC does not serve the interest of all but the interest of a few”.
The presidency said “regrettably” Ramaphosa had “erroneously affirmed a similar position”.