South Africa’s bilateral cooperation with the US has continued uninterrupted, despite American allegations that Pretoria supplied weapons to Russia, its Deputy Finance Minister David Masondo said.
“The US is a key partner for South Africa on issues of trade, peace, security and development,” Masondo said in a speech in New York on Thursday. “We have a strong and longstanding relationship that we can rely on.”
The deputy minister’s comments come after US Ambassador to South Africa Reuben Brigety ignited a furore on May 11, when he told reporters that armaments were collected by a Russian cargo ship, the Lady R, from the Simon’s Town naval base in Cape Town in December.
While South Africa’s government denied the accusation and criticized him, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced an independent inquiry to probe the claims.
The allegations rattled traders concerned that the US could punish South Africa and have weighed on the rand and government debt.
“It is crucial that we urgently close the matter to ensure certainty in the market,” Masondo said.
Relations between South Africa and the US have soured over Pretoria’s insistence that it’s taken a non-aligned stance toward Russia’s war in Ukraine.
“We do not accept that our non-aligned position favours Russia above other countries, the deputy minister said. “Our view is that the international community needs to work together to urgently achieve a cessation of hostilities and to prevent further loss of life and displacement of civilians in Ukraine.”