South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday replied to Washington’s accusations of arms supplies to Russia, saying an investigation had been launched into the matter by “a senior judge”.
The South African government announced that there was no record or evidence of state-approved arms sales to Russia during the relevant period.
A day before Ramaphosa’s statement, US ambassador Reuben Brigety accused Pretoria of sending arms to Russia, saying a Russian cargo ship had docked near Cape Town in December and left for Russia loaded with arms and weapons.
Concerns are rising in South Africa about the economic repercussions of the diplomatic dispute, given that the US is a strategic trading partner for South Africa.
For its part, the US has welcomed the opening of the investigation as a positive step in the long-running discussions between the two countries over the Russian cargo.
However, the South African Department of Foreign Affairs said it had called the US ambassador for a clarification meeting with Minister Naledi Pandor and that he had “apologized to the South African government and people, admitting that he had overstepped the bounds”.
For his part, Ambassador Reuben Brigety expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to speak with the South African foreign minister, adding that it was an opportunity to clear up any misunderstandings regarding his statement.
In this regard, several opposition parties in South Africa are ironically wondering how the president, as commander-in-chief, and the defense minister could be unaware of what has happened, arguing that Ramaphosa’s sequence reinforces the disorganization of information within the government.