Cape Town – The South African government has been firm on its neutral stance on Russia’s war against Ukraine but might have to revisit its decision, as pressure mounts on SA diplomats, a report says.
South Africa has remained on neutral grounds in the conflict since the war started in February.
However, ANC national executive committee (NEC) member Lindiwe Zulu revealed recently that SA diplomats were receiving pressure from other countries, as they were being badgered about the need to take a tougher stance around the issue, reported News24.
Zulu said this on Monday when she discussed the ANC’s policy documents ahead of the conference at the end of July.
“In the UN, it was the ANC government voting, and there was pressure on the ambassador and our diplomats. We were in Germany, and the ambassador came to us and told us exactly the pressures he was getting,” the report quoted Zulu as saying.
She said that the ANC was concerned about the US increasing its pressure on countries that had a relationship with Russia.
The ANC was likely to discuss the implications of sanctions on Russia and its impact on South Africa at its policy conference to be held at the end of July, the report said.
South Africa, the most developed economy in Africa, has maintained a non-aligned stance since Russia invaded Ukraine.
Despite widespread anger at its position, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government argued that negotiations were the best option to end the conflict.
The country has so far abstained from voting in two high-profile UN rebukes of Russia.
Dozens of other African countries have also steered clear of voting against Russia at the UN.
Earlier this year, International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor said that South Africa’s non-aligned position on the ongoing conflict did not mean that the country was not concerned about the loss of lives and the deteriorating humanitarian situation.
“Our non-aligned position doesn’t mean that we condone the military intervention of Russia in Ukraine. We believe that this intervention is in violation of the law.
“…We have also decried the humanitarian disaster that has resulted from the ongoing military operations and called for the urgent opening of humanitarian corridors and the provision of aid to the civilian population which, as usual, bears the brunt of the suffering when violent confrontation breaks out,” said Pandor.
Compiled by Olwethu Mpeshe