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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

‘US ambassador ought to be expelled’, says Sisulu as Dirco insists there’s no evidence

Reuben Brigety claimed that the US was 'confident' South Africa supplied arms to Russia.

Former Cabinet minister Lindiwe Sisulu says US ambassador to South Africa, Reuben Brigety should have been expelled for his claims that the country sold arms to Russia.

This follows the explosives claim by Brigety that his government was “confident” South Africa supplied arms to Russia when the cargo ship, Lady R, docked at Simon’s Town naval base.

ALSO READ: Cargo was unloaded, not loaded, from ‘Lady R’ in Simon’s Town – expert

The alleged incident comes amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Brigety has since apologised for his utterances following a meeting with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) on Friday. 

Brigety ill-informed

Sisulu told The Citizen on Saturday that Brigety’s actions was out of line.

“I think it is the most unfortunate ill-informed statement and unfortunate that it should come from a diplomat. After all, as a country we are here we are because of Russia politically, they sustained our liberation struggle.

“For the record, nobody is making any noise when the America is supplying arms to Ukraine, no one is dictating their movements on that, as to why they are dictating to us is fundamentally unjustifiable.

“Madiba did warn them in the past that they can’t choose friends for us, as they tried to dictate on how we should relate to [Cuba’s Fidel] Castro,” she said.

READ MORE: US has good relationship with SA, but it’s not an ally of the ANC – Mbalula

Sisulu highlighted that South Africa did démarche an ambassador in the past who threatened the country’s international relations with other countries.

“South Africa is capable of speaking on its behalf on any matter that confronts it and has the most wide-open door policy for any representative of any country to discuss concerns they may have. Under normal circumstances, the ambassador ought to be expelled.

“We are a member of Brics [Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa] family, and at no point we will ill-treat our Brics family member, there is absolutely no chance that we can betray any country from that family. Those who are panicking because of de-dollarisation efforts and direction, they will just have to live with this unfolding reality.

“Some of us were trained by the Russians militarily… we are unapologetic or sentimental about that, when others wanted us hanged to death, as they did to our forefathers,” Sisulu said.

Diplomatic channels

Sisulu added that it was “absolutely wrong that an ambassador resident in our country should not have followed the due processes that are required if his station in our country.”

“First, to get his information correct this he can do by going through the necessary diplomatic channels and confirming his information with the Minister responsible for International Relations, Intelligence and the Military attaché in his office could have given him proper guidance on this,

“We don’t have the capacity to supply Russia with the arms for the war in Ukraine. Russia has its own capacity to sustain any war it would find itself in,” Sisulu said.

No evidence

Meanwhile, Dirco head of policy, Clayson Monyela said Brigety failed to produce evidence of his claims on Friday.

Monyela also maintained that the National Conventional Arms Control Committee had not approved any sale of arms to Russia related to the period and incident in question.

RELATED: SA govt denies US claims of supplying weapons to Russia, clarifies inquiry establishment

“Therefore, any assertion that the South African government sold arms or is arming Russia is factually incorrect. We invited him to produce any evidence that he relied on for the public pronouncements.

“None has been submitted yet. The inquiry will be another platform to receive such. Established diplomatic protocols and channels were not observed,” he said in a tweet.

Furthermore, US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken confirmed that he spoke to Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor following Brigety’s comments.

“Secretary Blinken underscored the importance of the US-South Africa strategic partnership and reiterated cooperation on shared priorities, including health, trade, and energy,” his spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement.

NOW READ: ‘Nothing new’ – Experts say the US is ‘merely trying to bully South Africa’

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