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DA wants Pandor to state SA's official position on Russia-Ukraine crisis

A child sits on a swing in front of a damaged block of flats in Kiev after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine.
A child sits on a swing in front of a damaged block of flats in Kiev after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine.
Image: REUTERS/Umit Bektas

The DA wants the government to state on record its official position on the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, amid reports of differences in the higher echelons of the state.

DA MP Siviwe Gwarube has written to National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, asking to be allowed to pose an urgent question to international relations and co-operation minister Naledi Pandor on Wednesday afternoon, when security cluster ministers are scheduled to answer MPs’ oral questions in the National Assembly.

Gwarube said her request came in the wake of the confusion caused by the competing positions of various members of the executive over the past week.

“I write to you in terms of National Assembly Rule 141 to request that you allow me to put an urgent question to the minister of international relations and co-operation ... to establish the official position of the government on the unfolding crisis surrounding the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation during the oral question session scheduled for tomorrow.

“It is my considered view that this question meets the urgency requirement as set out in NA Rule 141(3) as it has recently become clear that the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, which has rightly received widespread condemnation across the globe except from our government, has domestic implications for SA as well,” she wrote.

In addition, Gwarube said it was important that the National Assembly ascertains, without any doubt, the position of the South African government given the competing and contradictory statements that have been made by members of the executive in the past week.

She said the matter could not wait to be addressed during the lengthy time frame stipulated for a written reply to be tabled and or the next peace and security oral question session.

While the IFP has put an oral question to Pandor about the government’s allegiances to its trading partners and its relationship with the Russian Federation in terms of SA’s membership of Brics, hers would be specifically pertaining to the contradictions we have seen on the official position, said Gwarube.

The Sunday Times reported this week that President Cyril Ramaphosa was “unhappy” at Pandor’s strongly worded statement last week which called for Russia to withdraw its forces from Ukraine.

Sources claimed that the statement “contradicted” SA’s position on the Ukraine issue.

It has also been reported that the defence and military veterans minister, Thandi Modise, celebrated the Defender of the Fatherland Day reception at the embassy of the Russian Federation literally as they were invading Ukraine. 

“It is clear that there is incoherence with the response by the South African government and the National Assembly should seek clarity immediately.

“It is on that basis that I propose the following urgent question for your consideration,” she said. 

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