by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – SOUTH Africa will not take sides in a contest between global powers, President Cyril Ramaphosa has said as he hit out at critics accusing his country of siding with Russia in the war with Ukraine.
Ramaphosa was writing in his weekly letter, days after the United States envoy in South Africa accused the African National Congress-led government of arming Russia.
“Since the advent of democracy nearly 30 years, South Africa has pursued an independent foreign policy.” Ramaphosa said.
He noted with the outbreak of Russia-Ukraine conflict in 2022, however, there had been “extraordinary” pressure on the country to abandon its non-aligned position and take sides in what is in effect a contest between Russia and the West.
“Other countries on the African continent and elsewhere have been put under similar pressure,” Ramaphosa lamented.
He said reaching out across political divides and building relations with different countries has helped shape South Africa’s foreign policy.
This has been coupled with a belief in the value of an inclusive multilateral world order and the peaceful resolution of conflict through dialogue.
South Africa is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, a forum of 120 countries that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc.
South Africa has also used its membership of other international forums like the G20 and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) group to advance the views and interests of countries in Africa and the rest of the Global South.
“Throughout, we have been firm on this point: South Africa has not been, and will not be, drawn into a contest between global powers,” Ramaphosa said.
The president reiterated that the country will not yield to pressure to take sides.
“Guided by the lessons of our history, we will continue to resist calls, from whatever quarter, to abandon our independent and non-aligned foreign policy,” he concluded.
– CAJ News