Ramaphosa reveals reasons for not condemning Russia

President Cyril Ramaphosa has broken his silence on South Africa’s controversial actions at the UN last week, after our representatives abstained from a vote to condemn Russia and its invasion of Ukraine.

Russia-Ukraine conflict puts SA in a difficult position

The head of state and his party have been chastised by both politicians at home, and the international community. Only a handful of nations failed to vote in favour of the resolution, which censured Vladimir Putin’s thirst for war.

In the days that have followed, prominent South Africans have tried to justify their support for Russia. This has led to a small diplomatic incident, after the Germany Embassy in Mzansi rejected the ANC’s official position. Even Jacob Zuma has weighed in on the issue, somehow making the war all about himself

Cyril Ramaphosa explains why South Africa abstained on UN vote against Russia

It’s a truly ugly situation, and Cyril Ramaphosa has been forced to try and clear up some of the mess. In a written letter to the public issued on Monday, the president explains that the UN resolution ‘failed to comprehensively call for a resolution through political dialogue’.

Ramaphosa, however, does acknowledge that there was *some* reference to this – but also claims there wasn’t enough ‘meaningful engagement’ in the text to earn South Africa’s full backing.

“We abstained from voting in last week’s United Nations resolution on the escalating conflict between Russia and its neighbour Ukraine because the resolution did not foreground the call for meaningful engagement. The call for peaceful resolution through political dialogue is relegated to a single sentence close to the conclusion of the final text.”

“This does not provide the encouragement and international backing that the parties need to continue with their efforts. Calling for peaceful negotiation is aligned with values upon which the UN was founded. We are particularly concerned that the UN Security Council was unable to discharge its responsibility to maintain peace and security.” 

Cyril Ramaphosa

Cyril Ramaphosa may have a job convincing us all…

Whether this flimsy reasoning will cut the mustard with an unsettled public remains to be seen. A large number of South Africans are unhappy with the ANC’s stance on Russia, which is looking increasingly isolated from the rest of the world. Ramaphosa, though, denies that SA now finds itself ‘on the wrong side of history’.

“There have been some who have said that in abstaining from the vote condemning Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, South Africa has placed itself on the wrong side of history. Yet, South Africa is firmly on the side of peace at a time when another war is something the world does not need.”

Cyril Ramaphosa

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