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Huh? In Moscow, Defence Minister Thandi Modise calls for ‘warmongers’ to be dragged to the ‘table of peace’

Huh? In Moscow, Defence Minister Thandi Modise calls for ‘warmongers’ to be dragged to the ‘table of peace’
South African Defence Minister Thandi Modise in Moscow with her Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu. (Photo: SA Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs)

Modise issued her diatribe against warmongers in the capital of a country that is waging an unprovoked war against its much smaller neighbour Ukraine.

Warmongers “must be dragged kicking and screaming to the table of peace and multilateralism”, Defence Minister Thandi Modise told a conference on international security in Moscow on Tuesday. 

Modise issued her diatribe against warmongers in the capital of a country that is currently waging an unprovoked war against its much smaller neighbour, Ukraine.

Presumably, she did not mean for Russia to be included among the “warmongers” who should be dragged to the peace table. And so her remarks, read in isolation, sounded as though she was delivering them somewhere else, far away, like Switzerland.

‘International peace crusade’

All the delegates — who included defence ministers from 35 African, Asian and Latin American countries — were participating in an “international peace crusade,” Modise asserted.

“I am confident that we will emerge from this conference stronger and more united in our determination to continue building a peaceful world,” she said.

“The objectives of this conference are consistent with Africa’s vision of creating a peaceful and conflict-free continent. We will never tire, as Africa, in our collective determination to make ‘Silencing the Guns’, African Union’s flagship project of Agenda 2063, a reality.”

Modise added: “South Africa is one of the key players in peacemaking in our continent. Hopefully, this conference will expose us to new practical and innovative strategies and approaches to address problems confronting Africa.”

South Africa was always ready to engage in the resolution of conflict, Modise said, rather than encouraging the “might is right” phenomenon.

South Africa strongly believed “that proxy wars must stop”, she added. Perhaps this was a clue to the apparent incongruity of her remarks. Maybe South Africa sees Ukraine as a mere proxy in a war between the West and Russia rather than an independent nation being systematically destroyed by Russian artillery.


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“Through our own silence, inaction and selective morality, we have allowed warlords to reign supreme across the world,” Modise said. “The world can no longer afford to be held to ransom by warmongers. They must be dragged kicking and screaming to the table of peace and multilateralism.”

The Ukrainian Association of South Africa said it was shocked that South Africa’s defence minister was attending the conference “after almost six months of Russian Federation’s unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine…”

The SA government had all along been declaring itself as neutral and non-aligned in the war —  but South Africa had now shown itself as not neutral.

By continuing military cooperation with Russia, it was supporting the killings of civilians and children in Ukraine.

The association said Modise’s ministry had said in a statement on Monday announcing her attendance at the conference that “South Africa stands ready to work with all peace-loving nations of the world”.

“But Russia is NOT a peace-loving country,” the association said. More than 2,000 Russian missiles had destroyed hundreds of hospitals, schools, shopping malls and civilian apartments in peaceful Ukraine. Russia was also posing a nuclear threat to the world by damaging equipment and radioactive materials at the Chernobyl nuclear power station and by occupying and bombing the territory of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station.

Russia was also committing systematic and widespread war crimes in Ukraine, including raping women and torturing and shooting hundreds of civilians with their arms tied.

Russian aggressions

During the past 30 years, Russia had invaded Moldova (1992-1993), suppressed Chechnya (1999-2009), invaded Georgia (2008), invaded Ukraine (2022), annexed Crimea (2014) and intervened in Syria (2015), the association said. 

It noted that the SA defence ministry had said one of the aims of the Moscow conference was to “share practical ideas and explore solutions on matters of global security”.

But by attending the conference, Modise was learning from a “terrorist country” that was violating international law and human rights and had created one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world, forcing almost 13 million Ukrainians to flee their homes.

If South Africa truly “stands ready to contribute meaningfully towards lasting peace in the world”, as the defence ministry had said, it should “immediately cease all military-related cooperation with Russia, the aggressor country, and condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine as it distorts a peaceful world order”. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Joe Irwin says:

    I can imagine her comment to her Russian colleagues. “Ignore what I say, not a word will be true, it’s purely to fool the SA public.”

  • Rg Bolleurs says:

    Just incredible. So ukraine are the warmongers. No wonder SA under the ANC is such a mess. They have zero ability to make any sense of the world

  • Warren Banks says:

    “Are we near the bottom yet?” Alice asked the rabbit. “Or does this rabbit-hold have no bottom? Curiouser and curiouser …”

    • Kirsty Hämmerle says:

      A perfect description of this bizarre turn of events

      • Alan Watkins says:

        I am more and more convinced, from watching a whole lot of seemingly unconnected events and developments in Ukraine over the past month particularly, that Russia is running out of steam, men, missiles and money and are looking for an off ramp to get out of the war , of course with the land they have occupied so far, in a way that they can declare victory

  • Brian Cotter says:

    There are 35 countries in this “international peace crusade.” Who are they? Was China and India there? Are the outcomes of this crusade going to be publicised?

  • David Bertram says:

    To quote another famous politician “I’m shocked”.

  • Hilary Morris says:

    Perhaps the ANC really is just terminally, unbelievably stupid? It takes so much gall to stand up and talk such blatant nonsense. This government has put us right back into polecat of the world space. Their policies and their rhetoric and behaviour are on a permanent collision course.

  • Anne Felgate says:

    Annoying that she is there on behalf of South Africa.
    I’m sure that a referendum would show that she has little support amongst the ordinary people
    Methinks there is a bigger issue here. Maybe nuclear power stations in SA?
    Thank goodness we have a strong civil society, independent press and independent judiciary to stop all the ANC nonsense

    • Mark Holgate says:

      I wish that were true but with all the efforts of the independent judiciary, civil society and independent press we are still stuck with a corrupt, Russian terror state supporting gang who are dug in stubbornly after almost 30 years.. much like Zanu PF. Maybe a referendum is the answer if the world recognizes that groups of people should not be trapped and oppressed by others, without the option to leave a failed state.

    • Tore Rognmo says:

      It’s not just annoying, it’s shocking. Why; when ministers traveling abroad, their delegation includes relevant representatives for the mission. So why shouldn’t reps from Denel/ARMSCOR be included? Denel is the manufacturer of the most advanced long range artillery systems. (Based on a Canadian success-story.) Denel has a JV with Rheinmetall in Germany, famous for advanced ammunition that fits well to the Denel G5/6 superguns. This South African weapon system is equal/better than found in the west. It is exactly what Russia need to make progress in Ukraine. I don’t know what Auntie Modise have included when she is promising a strengthened military relationship with her communist college, after first to have spread BS on Western “warmongers”.
      I would run west when Russia start progressing into Ukraine with super weapons from Denel.

      BTW: Denel need a lot of activity in their workshops to survive

  • Malcolm McManus says:

    Google John Mearsheimer and his perspective on the causes of the Ukraine war. His presentation is fairly unbiased and factual and I believe paints an accurate version of the history that lead up to the war. It is not a simple terrorist invasion as is presented in this article. The West, are equally guilty of invading and destroying other countries over many decades with hidden agendas. All wars should be condemned. The ANC lip service, hidden agendas and hypocrisy only serves to further muddy the waters.

    • Dave Reynell says:

      Good point.

    • Johann Olivier says:

      Yes, the West has been less than upstanding when it comes to wars of aggression and should be condemned each & every time. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, what has that to do with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine? ‘Whataboutism’ is a curse. Each of these events should be weighed ipso facto. Russia is the outright aggressor. And has been, as far as Ukraine is concerned, since 2014 when the citizens of Ukraine forcefully rejected a Russian imposed candidate, which led to the annexation of Crimea & the support of breakaway eastern provinces.

  • A.K.A. Fred says:

    Ricky Gervais’ quote applies here: “Remember, when you are dead, you do not know you are dead. It is only painful for others. The same applies when you are stupid.”

  • Chris 123 says:

    The Russians must fall over laughing at the IQ of our ministers. Think term is useful idiots.

  • Abdullah Cary Fanourakis says:

    Oh dear, what has the ‘West’ done that we stand so in condemnation of who, Thandi?
    Kahil Gibran, venerated in the East, West, by Christian, Muslim and atheist too, said it best when he wrote addressing crime and punishment, “Yet you cannot lay remorse upon the innocent nor lift it from the heart of the guilty, Unbidden shall it call in the night, that men may wake and gaze upon themselves.”
    Sufficient to condemn the Russian state’s war.
    The ‘table’ is there/here, take your place.

  • Change is Good says:

    What deal have the Russians done with the ANC. This would be the only reason to support the destruction of Ukraine by Russia. Corruption is showing up once again.

  • Hervey Williams says:

    This is embarrassing and erodes South Africa’s moral authority.

  • Colleen Dardagan says:

    Phew, this is beyond believable.

  • Helen Swingler says:

    Beware the bouquet proffered by peddlers of neurotoxins.

  • David De Ath says:

    Russia was also at war in Afghanistan from 1979 t0 1989 !

  • Gerrit Marais says:

    Whilst the Africa “leaders” jet off to Russia, their citizens are swimming to the West to get as far as possible from the mayhem they have created.

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    Malcolm – you hide behind this professor Mearsheimer as if he is a prophet. I’ve read it too and don’t believe it is an accurate assessment at all of the reality on the ground. He forgets to mention the human factor ie any ex-communist country that was subjugated, terrorised, brutalised by the Soviet Union/Russia would jump at the slightest opportunity to be free. It is called freedom, democracy and wanting to chart your own path ie sovereignty, which was guaranteed to them in international agreements, also signed by Russia. I suspect you would do the same for you and your family, and country too. You now have a barbaric and murderous monster KGB thug in Putin, who thinks it is his and Russia’s divine right to rule over these countries in some warped, idiotic and false sense of pride and belief, who constantly beats the war drum and threatens all of mankind in order to get his way. These countries want to join NATO because they seek security in numbers and not some sinister plot by NATO to expand to the Russian border. Who the hell would want to invade them anyway? This is also what Mearsheimer wrongly maintains. As for the West, yes they are not innocent and leave much to be desired, but to conflate the two and refrain from calling out Putin’s brutal, illegal, murderous, unwarranted and genocidal war is exactly what our government does. They in fact support him. Two wrongs don’t make a right and I recall the ANC loudly condemning the US invasions. Double standards!!

  • David Stevenson Stevenson says:

    Perhaps Modibe Modiba wrote her speech?

  • Neil Parker says:

    “But Russia is NOT a peace-loving country,” the association said. More than 2,000 Russian missiles had destroyed hundreds of hospitals, schools, shopping malls and civilian apartments in peaceful Ukraine. Russia was also posing a nuclear threat to the world by damaging equipment and radioactive materials at the Chernobyl nuclear power station and by occupying and bombing the territory of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station.”

    Which word in the above does our Defence Minister not understand ? More poignantly Ms Modise, can you please give us your personal opinion on the bombing of (just one of countless atrocities) a maternity hospital in Mariupol ? Yes I’m asking you to respond directly here and now – do not underestimate the anger we as South Africans feel when our government cosies up to Moscow ‘s thugs.

  • Katharine Ambrose says:

    People say what they believe. So Thandi Modise is a true believer in the soviet doctrines. Her party the ANC also takes this gobbledegook view. We should take this belief system seriously as it it what is shaping their policy here too.

  • Johann Olivier says:

    Good grief! I guess she is utterly ignorant of the term ‘irony’.

  • Michael Clark says:

    This lady was found guilty of one of the worst cases of animal cruelty committed on her farm in South Africa, and blamed her staff she never paid. What does that tell us, well Im not sure, suffice to say this is not a very nice human being.

  • Gerhardt Strydom says:

    Why wasn’t Aunt Thandi just clear on who she regards as the warmonger? And to which table of peace must the so-called warmonger be dragged? Stop speaking in the language of smoke and mirrors, minister of confusion and misdirection. South Africa is part of, and clearly aligned with, BRICS and therefore with Russia and China who has no problem with invading neutral countries. Who is the aggressor in the Russia-Ukraine invasion? Ukraine? Unbelievable …

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