Neelam Rahim | firstname.lastname@example.org
24 April 2023 | 12:55 CAT
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa will have to use all his diplomatic skills after Cabinet formally invited alleged war criminal Vladamir Putin to visit the country. Putin was invited to attend the BRICS summit in SA later in the year, and it is fast becoming a headache for the government.
Russia has a long history with South Africa, and that country played a significant role in its support of the ANC cadres during the liberation struggle. Arguably, it was not just the Russian Federation but the Soviet Union, of which Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan, amongst other nations, formed an integral part.
Speaking to Radio Islam International, Political Analyst Vasti Roodt said many of the economic benefits sent to the ANC and the struggle movement were generated in and by Ukraine.
Russia is one of the former member states of the Soviet Union that is engaged in an imperialistic war against another former member.
“It’s historically blinkered to claim that South Africa has historical ties to Russia and an old friendship that included Ukraine has been honored,” she says.
It would have been seen as a snub if Putin was not invited to attend the BRICS. However, according to Roodt, South Africa’s trade relationship with Russia is minuscule, and the consequences would have led to strongly worded letters which would be the total fallout.
Meanwhile, Roodt said there have allegedly been talks that the BRICS summit will be conducted in a hybrid format. Some delegates will attend in person, while others will attend online.
“That is the best solution as rescinding the invitation is a very severe step which may not have serious economic consequences but is an embarrassing climb down that the government would want to avoid,” says Roodt.
Listen to the full interview with host Moulana Jumaid Kharsany on Radio Islam’s podcast.