During a press conference on Thursday, US Ambassador to South Africa Reuben Brigety accused the government of secretly providing armaments to Russia despite its declared neutrality in the Ukraine conflict.
Brigety stated that the US is “confident” that weapons and ammunition were put onto a Russian ship that docked at Simon’s Town in December. According to Mathekga, the allegations are grave.
“I think it is a very serious allegation and anyone who makes such an allegation would most likely have evidence to back it up. It actually says South Africa is much more involved in the war than the non-aligned position does not in any way justify that.”
“This justifies the suspicion that we have not behaved in a non-aligned position, we have just stopped short of endorsing Russia.”
According to Mathekga, if the claims are accurate, they will have a direct impact on the country.
“That is worse than the violation of sanctions against Russia, supplying weapons means you are actively involved in fuelling military invasion.
“That will have a very direct repercussion, it means South Africa is standing with an aggressor, it is almost like South Africa is an aggressor,” he said.
South Africa has refused to criticise Ukraine’s incursion, which has effectively isolated Moscow on the world scene.