Ramaphosa appoints inter-ministerial committee on SA’s ICC stance, Winde threat of Putin arrest dismissed
International relations, specifically related to Russia and Sudan were top of Friday’s media briefing following a Cabinet meeting this week.
“Premier [Alan] Winde can dream about whatever,” said Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, Minister in The Presidency during a cabinet briefing on Friday 28 April, 2023. The comment comes over the announcement by Winde that the Western Cape would arrest Russian president Vladimir Putin if he stepped foot in the Western Cape.
Winde’s comments came on Freedom Day, where he announced that Law Enforcement Advancement Plan officers would arrest Putin should he enter the Western Cape. Putin is expected to attend a BRICS summit scheduled for August in South Africa. Putin has an arrest warrant issued against him by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged complicity in war crimes of abducting Ukrainian children and deporting them to Russia.
South Africa — an ICC member — would be obliged to arrest Putin and surrender him to the ICC if he touched down on South African soil.
Cabinet met on Wednesday 26 April. During Friday’s Cabinet briefing, Ntshavheni was asked about Winde’s comments.
Ntshavheni said the Western Cape was part of South Africa, not an “independent republic out of South Africa”. She said the laws that apply to the Western Cape apply to the rest of the country. “I do not know if Premier Winde — if president Putin is in the country and he is protected by the Presidential Protection Services — I don’t know how Premier Winder who does not even have policing functions will then get through the Presidential Protection Services,” she said.
“So Premier Winde can dream of whatever,” said the minister and added: “but what is important is the work of the inter-ministerial committee”.
New inter-ministerial committee
During the briefing, Ntshavheni said Cabinet “reaffirms South Africa’s participation in the International Criminal Court and confirms that we remain a signatory to the Rome Statute”. Earlier this week, President Cyril Ramaphosa said that South Africa would pull out of the ICC because of “unfair treatment” by the court.
However, later in the day, the statement was retracted with the president’s spokesperson Vincent Magwenya stating South Africa remained a signatory to the Rome Statute and would continue to campaign for equal and consistent application of international law.
Read in Daily Maverick: President Ramaphosa ‘erroneously’ announces SA’s withdrawal from International Criminal Court
During Friday’s briefing, Ntshavheni said, “South Africa will continue to advocate for strengthening institutions of global governance, and we continue to campaign for equal and consistent application of international law”. She also stated the president had appointed an inter-ministerial committee led by Deputy President Paul Mashatile that “is considering various options on the matter,” as it related to “some of the guests” expected at a BRICS summit in August to be held in the country. The inter-ministerial committee would report back to Cabinet- and a decision would be taken from there.
During the briefing, Ntshavheni said a report was welcomed that set out complex yet successful evacuations of South Africans from Sudan, where conflict is “impacting on citizens and nationals from other countries”.
The Department of International Relations as well as the South African Air Force worked to bring South Africans to safety. The Gift of the Givers has also assisted in bringing back South Africans trapped in the conflict-torn country. “The South African evacuation mission also assisted nationals from Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Brazil,” said Ntshavheni.
“Cabinet also expressed its appreciation to the government of Egypt for supporting our evacuation mission and the United Arab Emirates for evacuating one South African who is now being assisted by our mission in Jeddah to return home,” she said.
Five South Africans remain in Sudan because, “at the time of the evacuation they had not made contact with our embassy,” said Ntshavheni, who added: “Cabinet reiterated the call for an end to hostilities in Sudan and calls for peace and calm among the parties involved in the conflict, in keeping with the African Union (AU) objective of silencing the guns on the continent”.
During the Cabinet briefing, Ntshavheni said Cabinet called on consumers to “assist in saving electricity by using it sparingly while Eskom works with Independent Power Producers to bring new capacity online”. South Africa is currently in various stages of scheduled power cuts over this long weekend. DM
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