The African National Congress (ANC) has warned against taking sides in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the ruling party expressed concern about the escalating violence and urged both sides to resume peace talks.
It contrasts sharply with a statement issued by South Africa’s International Relations Department last week, in which it made explicit reference to the Russian invasion and urged the country to withdraw its troops from Ukraine.
When asked about the disparity, ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe stated that the ANC has always preferred to promote peace and friendship.
Mabe said, “We don’t even want to really go there – we have issued our statement. Countries that aren’t involved in this should not themselves be seen to be sponsoring what might not become helpful, take sides of this or that country. South Africa’s position is quite clear, coming from the ANC, that in the Freedom Charter, that we spoke of peace and friendship.”
The ANC’s statement came just hours after ministers in the judicial cluster were questioned about South Africa’s contradictory messages. Mabe believes that the media coverage is to blame for the confusion.
“Let’s also avoid ourselves in the media to sponsor confusion because sometimes how we ask questions, we too might contribute towards confusing the public. Where there seemed to be a misunderstanding on the Dirco position that was further clarified through a statement stating the need to encourage peace and friendship,” Mabe said.