On Saturday, the Department of Defence announced that it would send a 13-member delegation to the United States to attend the 19th RSA-USA Defence Committee Meeting in Washington from June 7 to 8, 2023, in order to engage the US Department of Defense on a variety of military-to-military matters.
The visit by the South African delegation comes in the wake of charges made by the US ambassador to South Africa, Reuben E Brigety, that the country delivered armaments to Russia on the Lady R, which arrived in Simon’s Town.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has formed a three-member team to look into these allegations. It also takes place in the midst of heated controversy about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s planned visit to the country for the 15th BRICS meeting in August.
According to a statement from the Department of Defence, the delegation will be led by the acting secretary for defence, Dr Thobekile Gamede, who will be assisted by the SANDF’s chief of staff, Lieutenant-General Michael Ramantswana, as well as senior officials and members of the military department.
“Among issues to be discussed during the upcoming forum is the optimisation of the work of the Acquisition and Technology Work Group which aims to explore priority areas for possible future cooperation in landward technology, aerospace technology, and maritime technology and support technology.
“The forum will also delve into the work of the Operations Work Group to discuss military events like future military exercises, symposia opportunities for both military establishments, as well as future military and key leadership engagements.”
It stated that the 19th Defence Committee meeting is a continuation and consolidation of talks on a variety of problems that were considered during the two departments’ meeting in 2019.
“The bilateral relationship between the RSA and the US was formalised with the signing of an agreement in 1995, which provided for the establishment of an RSA-US Defence Committee.
“…the defence committee was subsequently established on 29 July 1997 with the signing of the Terms of Reference by former Minister Modise and Secretary Cohen to be held every twelve (12) months alternately in the RSA and the US.
“The Defence Committee remains an immense and consistent forum of bilateral co-operation between the RSA the US and has evolved over the past years to constitute multiple work groups.
“The RSA-USA military has enjoyed a range of engagements and exchanges at various levels and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future.”
The 42nd Chinese naval escort force arrived in Richards Bay in February, consisting of the guided missile destroyer Huainan, the missile frigate Rizhao, and a supply vessel.
The Russian frigate, The Admiral Gorshkov, and a sea tanker, The Kama, participated in the Mosi-2 drill, while South Africa sent a frigate and two support ships. Earlier, it was rumored that the Russian ship was equipped with the Tsirkon (Zircon) hypersonic missile.