US-South Africa mistrust lingers over alleged arms supply to Russia
An expert explains why mistrust lingers between the US and South Africa after a probe finds no evidence of arms supply to Russia.
US-South Africa mistrust lingers over alleged arms supply to Russia. Photo: iStock
An expert says there is still mistrust between the US and South Africa over the latter’s alleged supply of arms to Russia, despite an investigation finding that no weapons for Russia were loaded on a Russian ship at Simon’s Town Naval Base.
Director of the Centre for Peace, Security and Conflict Resolution at Nelson Mandela University Prof Ntsikelelo Breakfast said the mistrust remained because the US wanted SA to toe its line as a beneficiary of the US’ African Growth and Opportunities Act (Agoa), and other trade arrangements with US.
Also, the US expected SA to support Washington’s quest to isolate Russia after its intervention in Ukraine … but Pretoria wanted to be non-aligned.
SA seen as having gravitated towards Russia
According to Breakfast, instead of supporting the US against Russia, SA was seen in America as having gravitated towards Russia.
He said it was no surprise that a US House of Representatives foreign affairs committee that probed the US-SA relationship took a dim view of the ANC’s antagonistic stance towards the US.
“Those are the trust issues that make them cast aspersions on us and ask whether we should benefit from Agoa. But the way we manage our relations with other states should not concern them,” Breakfast said.
Political analyst Sandile Swana said the US sought to pull SA and the ANC away from its China-Russia socialist friendship and towards Western style capitalism.
“Americans want a US-friendly SA and a pro-US ANC, but the Economic Freedom Fighters and the ANC are pro-Brics and antiIsrael,” Swana said.
The analyst said the US observation about BEE having been hijacked by the ruling elites for private gain was accurate. Land expropriation without compensation was “dead in the water”.
He said the ANC had failed to implement land reform despite existing laws being adequate, as suggested by land question report authors advocate Tembeka Ngcakaitobi and retired judge Dikgang Moseneke. “ANC corruption and criminality has stalled and misdirected land reform.”
The US committee said ANC leaders were hell-bent on pursuing the national democratic revolution while neglecting the poor, who were now more dependent on the state than ever.
US ambassador to SA apologised
The furore began when US ambassador to SA Reuben Brigety II claimed SA had loaded arms onto a Russian ship to support Russia in its war with Ukraine.
The ministry of international relations and cooperation said Brigety had since apologised. While initially some expected SA to be excluded from Agoa, that has not materialised as SA is scheduled to host the Agoa forum from 2-4 November.