- Minister of Defence Thandi Modise and two constituents attended a cocktail party held at the Russian ambassador Ilya Rogachev house on 24 February
- The decision to attend the event on the same day Russia invade Ukraine has been heavily criticised by the Democratic Alliance
- South Africans share different opinions on the ANC government continuing ties with Russia in the midst of an invasion
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JOHANNESBURG - The Minister of Defence Thandi Modise's office has come out to defend the minister's decision to attend a cocktail event at the house of the Russian ambassador to South Africa Ilya Rogachev on 24 February, the same day Russia invaded Ukraine.
Modise's spokesperson Cornelius Monama was in attendance for the Russian Motherland Defender's Day alongside Tsepe Motumi, the minister's special adviser and General Rudzani Maphwanya, the chief of the South African National Defence Force.
Monama says they were in attendance because they had to fulfil the defence department's international affairs. He further explains that the event they attended is an annual event that is attended by various diplomats and businesses, according to TimesLIVE.
DA criticises Minister Thandi Modise for attending Russian cocktail party
Modise has received backlash from the opposition party, the Democratic Alliance for going ahead and attending the cocktail party at the Russian ambassador's house. It has been alleged that officials from countries who are part of Nato boycotted the event.
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DA leader John Steenhuisen even went on to say that the African National Congress government decided to be on the wrong side of history by attending the event. Steenhuisen went on to highlight that even some of Russia's biggest allies have also taken a stance against Russia, reports SowetanLIVE.
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“The grotesqueness of this gesture cannot be overstated. Imagine raising a glass to the might of the German army at the German embassy on the day that Hitler invaded Poland,” Steenhuisen said.
ANC members attend more Russian events after the invasion of Ukraine
On 28 February, members of the ruling party attended an event that celebrated the 30-year relationship between Russia and the ANC. A video of ANC leader Cameron Dugmore has since gone viral on social media and reviewed various comments.
In the video, Dugmore speaks of the relationship forged between South Africa and the former Soviet Union, now the Russian federation. He also criticised the DA for using the event to light up the building in Ukrainian colours stating that the opposition party was using the conflict for opportunities purposes.
South Africans share their thoughts about the ANC attending Russian events
"Russia never stepped up, the Soviet Union did, of which Ukraine was part and sacrificed significantly. Russia does not equal the Soviet Union."
"Nothing wrong with that you can't disown your own brother and support the person he is fighting with, that is not normal."
"The ANC looters have an interest in the relationship because nuclear energy and the unbundling of Eskom (which is backed by the Russians) is the next gravy train."
"ANC supports whoever it's politically expedient to support. I wonder if their feelings towards Palestine would be the same if it were Russia in Israel's position."
South Africa abstains from United Nations members states' vote to slam Russia over Ukraine invasion
Briefly News previously reported that the United Nations (UN) General Assembly has undertaken to reprimand Russia over its invasion of Ukraine amid a Moscow offensive that had by Wednesday surpassed a week since the first missiles targeting Kyiv were launched.
Government backpeddles on calls for Russia to withdraw from Ukraine, Ramaphosa will not get involved
But where is South Africa in all of this? At the start of the conflict, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor sent out a strongly worded statement in which she called for Russia to withdraw its forces from Ukraine.
Not long after, Pandor backtracked on her sentiments, now toeing the party line in supporting talks, as President Cyril Ramaphosa reportedly expressed his unhappiness with his minister's "misrepresentation of South Africa's position on the conflict", SowetanLIVE reported.
Source: Briefly News