The US Ambassador to South Africa, Ambassador Reuben E. Brigety had claimed that his government was ‘certain’ South Africa sold armaments to Russia during Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Following overwhelming demand for answers, International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor met with Brigety on Friday, with many portraying the situation as a diplomatic nightmare and a threat to economic relations between Pretoria and Washington based on the African Growth and Opportunity Act.
Brigety apologised for his remarks, according to Dirco spokesperson Clayson Monyela. “Ambassador Reuben E. Brigety admitted that he crossed the line and apologised unreservedly to the Government and the people of South Africa,” Monyela said.
Brigety has yet to publicly apologise; however, he has tweeted that he was happy for the meeting since it provided an opportunity to ‘address any misimpressions made by [his] public words’.
I was grateful for the opportunity to speak with Foreign Minister Pandor this evening and correct any misimpressions left by my public remarks. In our conversation, I re-affirmed the strong partnership between our two countries & the important agenda our Presidents have given us.
— Ambassador Reuben Brigety (@USAmbRSA) May 12, 2023
At the same time, Dirco has praised President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to commission an independent investigation to investigate the charges made by the ambassador, while also reaffirming that South Africa follows tight procedures when selling guns to foreign countries.
Dirco said, “South Africa is known globally for having one of the most stringent processes when selling arms to other countries.
“The process is managed by the National Convention Arms Control Committee (NCACC), which was created through an Act of Parliament, the National Conventional Arms Control Act 41 of 2002 (NCAC Act), and the Constitution.”
Meanwhile, Brigety’s views have prompted the ruling African National Congress (ANC) to request a meeting with him.