- President Cyril Ramaphosa previously urged Russia and Ukraine to find a diplomatic solution to their conflict
- However, Ramaphosa has gone back on these statements as they were interpreted as displaying anti-Russia sentiments
- Naledi Pandor has come under severe scrutiny for demanding that Russia withdraw from Ukraine because it's not her mandate to speak
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JOHANNESBURG - On Friday (25 February), President Cyril Ramaphosa issued a statement that called for Ukraine and Russia to resolve their conflict through mediation and peaceful negotiations.
Ramaphosa's statement was interpreted as supporting Ukraine's independence, which damaged relations between Russia and South Africa. The government is now scrambling to repair ties with the Russian government, including back-peddling on the president's statement.
According to Daily Maverick, yesterday (27 February), Mondli Gungubele, the Minister in the Presidency, reassured the Russian government that it was on their side.
Ramaphosa encourages Russia and Ukraine to negotiate peace through mediation, SA wants president to back off
Pandor comes under fire for anti-Russia remarks
Naledi Pandor, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, has been criticised for calling for Russia to withdraw from Ukraine. The African National Congress (ANC) has scrutinised Pandor for making a statement that is in the president's mandate, News24 reports.
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The ANC agrees that Russia and Ukraine should find a diplomatic solution. However, the ruling party seems to be more supportive of Russia than Ukraine. An example of this is Thandi Modise, the Minister of Defence, attending an event at the Russian ambassador's home in Pretoria.
The event, which took place the same day that Russia invaded Ukraine, celebrated Russia's military and Defender of the Fatherland Day. Many South Africans and members of the global community view Modise's attendance as insensitive.
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Reactions to the South African government's stance on the Russia-Ukraine conflict
"African states, in general, are going to have some challenges with taking a strong position on this issue. This is because of historic relationships with Russia and also because of relationships with China. The dynamics are very precarious for African leaders."
"Someone got a call and it wasn't from Stellenbosch."
"You have picked a side. Hope you remember this when you need money again from Europe."
"The legacy of @CyrilRamaphosa- a coward and enabler/protector of corruption."
"It's clear that the R in RSA stands Russia."
Russia to lose access to SWIFT following decision by major powers
In earlier news about the conflict, Briefly News recently reported that significant world powers opposed to Russia's aggressive invasion of Ukraine had instituted a series of crippling sanctions against Russia.
Banks and financial institutions have been frozen out of the US, UK and European economies. However, they were criticised for not blocking Russia's access to SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication).
SWIFT is a Belgian cooperative society providing services related to executing financial transactions and payments between banks worldwide.
Source: Briefly News