South Africa

Government not fooling anyone on Russia – BLSA CEO

Business Leadership SA CEO Busi Mavuso said the African peace mission was a feeble attempt by the South African government to appear neutral on the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Last week, a delegation of African heads of state and senior officials met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as part of a peace mission.

The African delegation was the latest in a series of mediation efforts aimed at bringing an end to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

“We are convinced that the time has come for both sides to start negotiations and end this war,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa proposed ten steps, including de-escalating the conflict, diplomatic negotiations, and recognising the sovereignty of states in accordance with the UN Charter.

He also called for reopening the Black Sea so that grains could be exported, exchanging prisoners of war, and post-war reconstruction.

The peace mission followed accusations by US Ambassador Reuben Brigety that South Africa supported Russia in the war by supplying weapons to them.

The accusation sent the rand plummeting and caused concerns that South Africa may lose its African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) status.

American lawmakers on both sides of the aisle called on the Biden administration to punish South Africa for supporting Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Another contentious point is South Africa working to facilitate the participation of Russian President Vladimir Putin in the BRICS Summit despite an outstanding ICC arrest warrant.

If South Africa loses the benefits of being part of AGOA, it will hurt the struggling economy, which the country cannot afford.

Busi Mavuso
Business Leadership SA CEO Busi Mavuso

Speaking to ENCA, Mavuso said Ramaphosa’s peace mission to Russia and Ukraine is another example of the government doing things for optics.

“I don’t know what the South African government thought they could offer Russia and Ukraine to end the war,” she said.

“When brokering a deal, you must have something to offer both countries. To me, it is still not clear what they offer.”

She said it was unclear what South Africa planned to offer Ukraine, the value proposition, and what the African delegation was trying to achieve.

“This was just a stance where the South African government was hoping to prove its neutrality on the Russia-Ukraine conflict,” Mavuso said.

“They went to these lengths to prove they are neutral. However, they are not fooling anyone that they are neutral regarding their relations with Russia.”

“It was a waste of time which will not achieve anything,” she said.


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