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Mashaba to write to US ambassador over docking of Russian vessel

ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba says 'actively supporting Russia's illegal war in Ukraine will harm SA's reputation with our international partners'. File photo.
ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba says 'actively supporting Russia's illegal war in Ukraine will harm SA's reputation with our international partners'. File photo.
Image: Veli Nhlapo


ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba has joined the chorus of reactions to the US government's claim that a Russian cargo ship which docked at Simon's Town left South Africa  loaded with weapons.

US ambassador to SA Reuben Brigety, made the claims on Thursday, adding it was one of the “concerns” raised by American senior officials with a high-level South African delegation that recently visited the US.

The controversial docking of Lady R late last year has raised questions in many quarters, but only silence from government on what it was doing while in South African waters. 

Mashaba said he would write to the US ambassador to “request he share any information regarding the allegation with the South African people”.

“Should the allegation prove to be true, we must make Ramaphosa's government account”.

Asked about the claims in parliament yesterday, Ramaphosa said government was investigating the docking.

The presidency said it would institute an independent inquiry into the claims.

“While no evidence has been provided to date to support these allegations, the government has undertaken to institute an independent inquiry to be led by a retired judge.

“In recent engagements between the South African delegation and US officials, the Lady R matter was discussed and there was an agreement that an investigation will be allowed to run its course, and that the US intelligence services will provide whatever evidence in their possession.

“It is therefore disappointing that the US ambassador has adopted a counterproductive public posture that undermines the understanding reached on the matter and the very positive and constructive engagements between the two delegations.”

Russia is locked in conflict with Ukraine, and Mashaba said South Africa could not afford to be taking Russia's side by supplying weapons.

“Actively supporting Russia's illegal war in Ukraine will harm SA's reputation with our international partners. At a time where our economy is already struggling, the reality is we cannot afford to alienate major trade partners by becoming complicit in Putin's war”.

Many others weighed in on social media. Here is a look at some of what was said:

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