Avatar photo

By Citizen Reporter

Journalist


‘Ramaphosa was very clear’: Gungubele on SA’s stance on Russia-Ukraine conflict

President Cyril Ramaphosa was said to be 'unhappy' about Dirco's statement on Russia's invasion of Ukraine.


Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele has dismissed claims that the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) contradicted President Cyril Ramaphosa over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

According to a Sunday Times report, Ramaphosa was said to be “unhappy” about Dirco’s statement this week in which the department called for Russia to withdraw its soldiers from Ukraine.

An unnamed source told the publication that Dirco’s statement contradicted South Africa’s position on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

“The president did not see the statement before it was issued and he does not agree with it. There are people within Dirco with an agenda that we must be enemies with Russia,” the source said.

ALSO READ: No plans to evacuate South Africans stuck in Ukraine, Russia

But Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele refrained from commenting on whether the contradiction claims were true.

“The president was very clear on the matter as the commander in chief as regard to mediation, negotiation. Over and above that it is the stance of the country, more particular the last Cabinet, will always prefer peaceful solutions of conflicts.

“We will always be opposed to any conflict that leads to loss of life, we are not to comment beyond that,” he said during the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster media briefing on Sunday.

South Africa is a member of Brics – an economic grouping consisting of Brazil, Russia, India and China.

Dirco on Thursday called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to immediately halt the military attacks, urging respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence.

The department also pointed out that South Africa believed in “dialogue” to end the conflict.

“South Africa emphasises respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states. As a nation birthed through negotiation, South Africa is always appreciative of the potential dialogue has in averting a crisis and de-escalating conflict.

“In line with our strong commitment to the peaceful resolution of conflict, South Africa urges all parties to devote increased efforts to diplomacy and to find a solution that will help avert further escalation,” the department said.

Evacuation

During the JCPS briefing, Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Thandi Modise indicated that government has not received a request to repatriate South Africans in Ukraine.

Modise said there were no plans to send the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers to Ukraine to assist with the evacuation.

READ MORE: No, these SANDF soldiers aren’t going to Ukraine or Russia

“Do we have plans to evacuate [South Africans from Ukraine]? Not as yet… we have not been officially told that South Africans wish to be evacuated either from Ukraine of Russia.

“[As] you know, [the South African government] believes in dialogue and we hoping that a dialogue will be actually be followed in this situation… that’s all I can say. If and when the need arises [the media will be informed],” she said.

On Friday, Dirco urged to South Africans stuck in Ukraine to try and leave for neighbouring countries.

This video is no longer available.

For more news your way

Download our app and read this and other great stories on the move. Available for Android and iOS.

For more news your way

Download our app and read this and other great stories on the move. Available for Android and iOS.