South Africa said it will provide diplomatic immunity to attendees of two meetings of officials from the BRICS group of countries — a practice the government said is routine — as it prepares to host Russian President Vladimir Putin at a summit in August.
The immunity covers a meeting of foreign ministers from the bloc, which groups Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, who will gather in Cape Town from June 1-2, according to a Government Gazette published on Monday.
It also covers a summit of the BRICS heads of state scheduled to take place Aug. 22-24, the Department of International Relations and Cooperations said in the official notice.
“This is a standard conferment of immunities that we do for all international conferences and summits held in South Africa irrespective of the level of participation,” the department said on Tuesday.
“The immunities are for the conference and not for specific individuals. They are meant to protect the conference and its attendees from the jurisdiction of the host country for the duration of the conference.”
South Africa has invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to attend the BRICS summit in August.
Putin is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges related to Russia’s war with Ukraine, and as a member of the court, South Africa would be obliged to arrest him if he attends.
“These immunities do not override any warrant that may have been issued by any international tribunal against any attendee of the conference,” the ministry said on Tuesday.
The rand extended a decline, weakening 0.5% to 19.76 per dollar by 8:20 a.m. in Johannesburg.