Parliament will debate on the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on South Africa’s economy following efforts pushed by the Democratic Alliance (DA).
National Assembly Speaker, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has accepted the DA’s request for the matter to be debated next Tuesday.
“A report on the draft parliamentary programme has been presented and we have observed in the report that we have included the item, which was proposed by the leader of the opposition party Honourable [John] Steenhuisen on the issue of Russia and Ukraine, and its impact on our economy in South Africa. [The matter will be debated on] the 15th of March,” the Speaker said during a National Assembly Programming Committee meeting on Thursday.
Steenhuisen has since welcomed the decision.
“The DA has succeeded in getting a debate on the Russia-Ukraine crisis. This will now be part of Parliament’s agenda as agreed to by the Speaker.
“I’m proud that Premier Alan Winde [and] other DA governments are on the right side of history in condemning Russia’s reprehensible acts,” he said in a tweet.
Last week, South Africa abstained from voting on a United Nations (UN) General Assembly resolution condemning the Russian invasion.
When the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) issued a statement calling on Moscow to withdraw its forces from Ukraine, President Cyril Ramaphosa allegedly lambasted Minister Naledi Pandor for the strongly worded statement.
Meanwhile, Western Cape premier and DA provincial leader, Alan Winde condemned the attack on Ukraine, and acknowledged that “many Russian citizens are themselves standing up and protesting against this war”.
“While doing so is not common for a province, it was viewed as essential to make clear to our own residents, to the people of Ukraine, and to the rest of the world that we cannot and will not remain ‘neutral’ in the face of such a cruel attack on the democratic values that we all hold dear,” Winde said on Tuesday.
Ramaphosa has since revealed that South Africa has been approached to play a mediation role in the Russia-Ukraine conflict that has claimed thousands of civilians’ lives and led to the mass exodus of at least 2.2 million people fleeing Ukraine.
South Africa is a member of an economic grouping consisting of Brazil, Russia, India and China.
Impact on SA
According to economists, the petrol price could go as high as R40 per litre in South Africa due to the ongoing war.
South Africa’s inflation could be pushed up to between 7% and 8% or even more if the price of oil reaches $200 per barrel.
The Ukraine crisis also could also trigger fuel shortages and rationing, as well as more load shedding as Eskom struggles to cope with soaring costs to keep its gas turbines running.
The situation in Russia and Ukraine could also see wheat prices go up across the globe, which may affect the import prices to South Africa as the country uses 3.4 million tons of wheat per year.
South Africa imports more or less half of our wheat demand, depending on local harvest.
Sunflower seed oil prices could also increase because South Africa imports the processed product rather than sunflower seed or soybeans in raw format.