Defend Truth


Tears in Heaven: Why everything Ramaphosa & Putin touch ends in a gigantic farce

Tears in Heaven: Why everything Ramaphosa & Putin touch ends in a gigantic farce
Illustrative image | Sources: Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Mikhail Metzel / SPutnik / Kremlin Pool) | African Heads of State and Government, including South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (third right) and Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema, consult while en route from Poland to Kyiv by trainon 15 June 2023 as part of their African Peace Mission aimed at mediating the end of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. (Photo: EPA-EFE / GCIS) | Search and rescue operations in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Photo: Vitalii Nosach / Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images) | A Ukrainian Territorial Defence soldier. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Sergey Dolzhenko)

Leaving aside Soviet support for the ANC (and other anti-colonial movements) during the liberation era, there are sick-making corollaries between dying Russia and flailing South Africa.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who once helped negotiate the end of apartheid, flew to Eastern Europe to try to stop a war. It went … not so well.

Where is the Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci when you need him?

Sadly, his teeth fell out and he perished in a fascist prison eighty-odd years ago. But not before he crafted his famous maxim, “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.”

Gramsci-isms, along with a few other Marxist T-shirt slogans, get flung around on South African Twitter like scat hurled by deranged bonobos. But last week something happened to render the morbid symptoms manifest: a South African Airways charter plane appeared on a forlorn patch of apron at the farthest end of Warsaw’s Chopin airport, bearing journalists, a small militia, guns, and several metaphors for the collapse of the human species.

Let’s rest our eyes for a moment on the contested aircraft’s livery: the blue lettering spelling out the words South African Airways. About a decade ago SAA was still a proud flag carrier, with a near-perfect safety record and fabulous service relative to its peers. But inside the airline’s corporate offices, a great gorging was under way, which was the case with every single state-owned enterprise in the country. As the Zondo Commission made graphically, emphatically clear, SAA was power-hosing cash into the State Capture cabal led, at least in spirit, by former president Jacob Zuma.

SAA is now kaput, the way much of South Africa is kaput — laid to waste by lies, bullying, theft and stupidity.

And so, a problem: the aircraft on the tarmac in Poland did not, in any meaningful sense, exist. Somehow though, South African authorities managed to double down: It is now clear that they hadn’t properly declared all the passengers on board, which included 120 security personnel, the aforementioned journalists, and several tranches of weapons and support systems packed into crates, for which the delegation was not holding the original paperwork required by Polish authorities. All of these people and all of this stuff were meant to join President Cyril Ramaphosa and a contingent of African leaders in their endeavours to secure a peaceful solution to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In terms of event management, Beyoncé travels with an entourage this big — but she makes actual money. Ramaphosa’s security detail, which was meant to protect an African delegation visiting an active war zone, spends actual money. So this sort of mission should be treated with serious attention to detail and real expertise. Instead, it is now clear that amateurs performed this job, and the flight jetted off into the geopolitical wilds without the appropriate form of diplomatic cover.

And so, by the strictest interpretation of international protocol, the plane should never have taken off, and should never have landed in Warsaw.

Oh, and while we’re at it, what was inside the crates that the South Africans were so eager to offload? Biltong and chutney chips? A nuclear warhead? One of Johannesburg’s errant tigers designated for an oligarch’s shag pad? Rob Hersov?

Or was this a repeat of another epic screw-up — the Russian Lady R cargo ship that docked in Simon’s Town last December, and then fled in the dark of night with who-knows-what in its cargo hold?

Nope. Just underwear, flak jackets and toys for the security hacks. This was not, sadly, a cocaine or cash smuggling trip.

Which brings us to the SAA charter plane’s inadvertent hosts. The Polish are, how shall we say, unpolished concerning the modern politesse of harmonious race relations. As my colleague Rebecca Davis noted, the country’s governing Law and Justice party tends far right and has expressed disdain for the LGBTQ community, George Soros (AKA Jews), blacks, and Disney remakes. They stand in alignment with the West regarding the war in Ukraine — and are thus deeply suspicious of South Africa’s stance on the matter — and have, very weirdly, demanded the extradition of extremist nut job Janusz Waluś, who murdered Chris Hani in 1993, almost plunging South Africa into an all-out civil war. Additionally, in April of this year, South Africa halted arms sales to Poland, in an apparent attempt to avoid antagonising the Russians.

Perhaps worse in this instance, Polish corruption works differently from our corruption, in that they like to see the money up front. Given these conditions, it was not possible to sweet talk a militia into their country and emerge with a positive impression of Polish hospitality. In other words, this was a collision of rancid national bureaucracies: Incompetence and hubris met racism and Homo Post-Sovieticus in a parking bay at Warsaw’s airport. The Poles were never — never — going to give the South Africans a free pass.

And so, as the non-existent plane idled on the tarmac, a diplomatic crisis unfolded — one that threatened to derail the peace mission that was going ahead regardless in Kyiv.


As the African leaders lumbered around the Ukrainian capital, conferring with President Vlodomyr Zelensky and other local leaders, several explosive welcome gifts were sent from Russia, presumably with love. Kyiv has endured a bombing campaign for the past 18 months or so, but while the explosions popped off on this particular day, and while the luminaries were ushered into a bunker for a fully authentic tourism experience, Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, insisted that there were no explosions.

The phantom booms, reported widely by independent media, and later confirmed by Ramaphosa himself, represented a bizarre act of denialism that literally has no precedent in international relations. This was the equivalent of Chemical Ali standing in a frontline trench insisting that it was an organic vegan restaurant.

Seven percent of Africa’s leadership was in Kyiv during a bout of Russian showmanship so glib and slimy that it beggars belief. And the South African spokesperson decided to engage in a bout of ANC flimflam vs Reality, in which Reality always delivers a humiliating KO.

Meanwhile, back in Warsaw, the SAA plane, now mostly carrying disgruntlement and rage, was meant to follow the African dignitaries to St Petersburg to meet the paymaster-in-chief, Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But in a sudden act of malevolent cartography, Hungary leapt up from behind Poland and interrupted the flight path. Indeed, somehow, the relevant South African officials had muddled up the planet, insisting that Hungary, which was behind them, was blocking their way to Russia, which was in front of them.

Someone needs to introduce the mission planners to Google Earth.

But the show must go on. Following a press conference that sort-of expressed solidarity with the Ukrainians while not pissing off the Russians — a fine line, indeed — Ramaphosa and the delegation made their way to meet Putin, who due to his somewhat paradoxical hatred of Nato, Nazis and Western Pride parades, kicked off all this fuss in the first place.

The engagement between the Russian leader and the Africans was filled with bonhomie, but as Ramaphosa read off his ten-point plan to bring a resolution to the conflict, it was clear that there was nothing nimble enough to generate a peace initiative. There is, of course, the sticky problem of Russia’s continuous “special military operation” within Ukrainian borders — an act that threatens the very notion of sovereignty on which international relations are premised. Like most non-aligned folks, Ramaphosa and his African counterparts could not magic or back slap their way out of that one.

War is war by any other name.


Why did this mission fall into such farcical disarray?

In order to answer this, and without drawing a moral equivalence, we have to point out a sinister overlap between the peace mission and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Whatever justifications the Putin regime may have for their actions, they preside over a gangster state that has been gutted — from top to bottom — by pervasive corruption. Along with this corruption comes a species of cruelty and violence, but also unrelenting stupidity, all of which render the mechanisms of a functioning state moot.

When Putin decided to roll his “second best army in the world” into sovereign Ukrainian territory, he had already lost the war. The invasion almost immediately exposed the vicious gangsterism that had shredded his military’s capacity — the cruel hazing and exploitation of young recruits; the lack of maintenance of military vehicles; the lack of lateral thinking (of any thinking) in the top brass, who simply expressed slavish loyalty to The Boss.

Before the invasion, The Boss was widely regarded as a strategic genius. But Putin is not a genius. In fact, he simply got lucky for the longest time. He was parachuted into power as the best-worst option after the sacking of the Yeltsin era, and now rules a vast territory, with a population of 150 million and the most significant natural resource dividend of any country on Earth. Russia basically shits commodities. But it also bears an incredibly rich cultural and scientific history, all of which boded well for the future. Instead, it’s all been squandered, because Putin’s empire — like all empires — is ipso facto anti-progress reactionary.

The philosopher and logician Bertrand Russell said that power is the production of intended effects. If so, then Putin has very little power. His intended effect was to destroy and replace Ukraine’s government, shatter Nato, discombobulate the “Western alliance”, further entrench European addiction to cheap Russian oil and gas, return his empire to its former glory, and the Russian Federation to its rightful place as a top-ranking superpower.

Oh, and to reestablish the lucrative pro-Kremlin corruption machine that pertained in Ukraine prior to the 2014 Velvet Revolution, the greatest beneficiary of which was — yup — Putin Himself.

As it turns out, he has failed in every single one of these objectives, resulting in around 200,000 Russian casualties, and a slightly smaller number in Ukraine. His non-ideological ideology — imperial anti-wokeism — is a bargain-basement version of white supremacy that doesn’t have the underpinning of a single actual idea. Thanks to Putin and his men, Russia is a dead country, stuck in a ghastly interregnum, oozing morbid symptoms. 

The Ukraine invasion marks its end point. It may take a while, but it’s cooked.

This is the country South Africa’s leaders have chosen non-aligned alignment with? Leaving aside Soviet support for the ANC (and other anti-colonial movements) during the liberation era, there are sick-making corollaries between dying Russia and flailing South Africa. The latter, too, has become a gangster state, in which almost nothing works the way it should. Short-termism, political and geopolitical myopia, greed, ideological wishy-washiness and a regime full of losers is the legacy the ANC trails behind itself.

In the ’90s and zeroes, despite irritating the West now and again, South Africa could dribble the diplomatic ball through the defenders of the Washington consensus with real skill. But since the Zuma-era destruction of the intelligence services, and in the general amateurisation of the country, there is no longer access to the necessary diplomatic expertise. 

The gutting of Dirco, the SSA, the SANDF, and SAA — a massacre of acronyms — led to the farce in Poland. (It’s also worth noting that, despite the racism displayed by Polish officials, there has been no move to officially call out this behaviour by the South African authorities — no demarche, no recall of the ambassador, no statements of outrage.)

The truly enraging thing about this slapstick peace mission is that it could have nudged decentre-ing of geopolitics from the usual superpower and superpower-adjacent Western players, and their foes in the East. The Ukraine invasion — I hate to say it — presented an opportunity for South Africa to step in and find a middle way, to act as a genuinely non-aligned arbiter that could help nudge the West and East out of their stupid, boring proxy battles.

Why should food security in African countries be threatened by an unnecessary war in Eastern Europe? Why should Africans starve while they fight?

This cannot be allowed to stand. And yet, South Africa has blown it.

Sure, the unseriousness, the incompetence, and the corruption result in some genuine comedy (so long as you’re not stuck on the plane). But as far as interregnums go, this one is excessively morbid. And it can’t end soon enough. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • David Pennington says:

    They are most entertaining are they not

  • David A says:

    Well said.

  • Philip Machanick Machanick says:

    Nicely done. Further thoughts: at Mail&Guardian look for my
    2022-11-17 article Towards a Multipolar World Order.

    We have to do better.

  • Alan Fine says:

    Take a read of this column, Richard: The African Presidents who visited Russia and Ukraine won’t persuade the two sides to end the war. In fact, it seems likely that neither side took them seriously. But that does not mean that they had no business telling them how much damage the war is doing to Africa. And the fact that they will be ignored tells us what is wrong with the world, not what is wrong with Africa
    That is the argument of this week’s Against the Tide Column which was mailed to subscribers earlier today. To read it, please visit the Against the Tide website and subscribe. If you can’t afford to subscribe, please mail the author through the website to discuss a reduced or free subscription

  • Anthony Sturges says:

    An article that articulates the story of a ‘kakistocracy’ trying to emulate the efficiency of a true democracy.

  • Derek Jones says:

    we love having the truth revealed as groovy entertainment. Problem is people are being hurt, but given that you guys have tried serious outrage, mockery is a good option.

  • parelleen2109 says:

    Richard Poplak has a most insightful mind that is able to cut through the most obstructive rubbish and produce the unvarnished truth – always.
    An excellent analysis of the SA PEACE (?) Mission – with military personnel and hardware.
    Well done, Richard, as always.

  • Dee Bee says:

    Spot on about the calamitous uselessness of the ANC regime. I cannot think of a single powerbroker in the ANC who has any actual skill or ability to lead our country. Every one of them is functionally illiterate for the task of running a modern economy and society, their intellect stone dead after being suffocated for years by clinging hopelessly to popgun populist soundbites masquerading as intellectualism and policy. And underpinning all of this is a greedy, seething hatred of ordinary South Africans who have the temerity to ask for a half decent government.

  • robster says:

    Great summary of the farce

  • William Kelly says:

    Good to see you back. Loved the diss of the ‘non rockets’ that never went off. It’s this kind of nonsense, the very attempt to warp reality into a more convenient narrative, and done without shame, or consequence is indicative of how far up their own arses our leaders have their heads. Even muppets cannot stretch that far.

  • blingtofling says:

    The little chilly sprinkled in this article sure spice it up. It explains very clearly why sewage runs past houses for years, rivers have become biological killers, and irratic or no water supply leaves dead bodies behind. Well done SA leaders, you were impressive in your dying swan song. Sitting on the fence makes the victim a victim again and empower the agressor. Indeed tears from and in heaven.

    • Charles Thatcher says:

      I suspect Putin has bought the ANC “elite”, more specifically, pays them the billions formerly stolen from state capture. There is nothing left to steal.

      • bpaynter says:

        Yep. No one seems keen to uncover why the ANC leadership is so hell-bent on supporting Russia. Didn’t the Zuma gang agree to build Russian nuclear power stations? I wonder how many millions were paid to certain key individuals as a ‘deposit’. I wonder if that ‘deposit’ weighs heavily on those who accepted. I certainly wouldn’t sleep easily knowing that I hadn’t delivered my side of an obscenely lucrative deal with Russian gangsters…

        • Cheryl Siewierski says:

          Completely agree. Perhaps it is money paid, perhaps it is a number of ‘smallanyana skeletons’ being used as blackmail. Either way, the lack of ostensibly logical rationale for support of Russia NEEDS to be more closely examined.

        • Scott Gordon says:

          Hmm , that deposit , might be a head stone . If Vlad does not get his deal . one might end up swimming with the fishes .

      • Zamfoot 1 1 says:

        No, Funding next years elections complete with all the hacks and bots they have to offer is all thats required to buy the ANC.

  • Alley Cat says:

    Entertaining piece as always Richard! Thank you. Keep them coming, I have missed your inimitable analysis.

  • Philip van Ryneveld says:

    I am tiring of Poplak’s cynicism because although he is an entertaining writer he seems to offer little else. I do agree with most of what he says about Russia. And I agree that Putin is finished. But this was actually a pretty skilled piece of diplomacy by SA. This is the only peace mission so far to be given an audience by both sides. The Chinese did it ‘sort-of’ – with a few weeks between contacts. The big difference between the Chinese and the African positions was point 4, which calls for respect of national sovereignty. This is the foundation of Ukraine’s argument and its logical implication is a withdrawal of Russia from Ukraine. Presumably, it is for this reason that Ukraine responded generally positively to the mission – inviting further discussion – and Putin less so. My understanding is that Putin interrupted the African leaders to tell them their position was flawed because it doesn’t recognize ‘new realities’ (ie Russia’s annexation of parts of Ukraine). Part of Ramaphosa’s skill here was to develop this as the core of an African position – which not only gives it more international weight, but helps him against the substantial backing that many South Africans do, indeed, give to Putin (see Malema’s interview with the BBC). However, the REALLY big question is what happens after Putin. Very possibly the breakup of Russia into warring territories – with 5000 nuclear weapons between them. Then being able to talk to all sides becomes crucial…

    • Jane Crankshaw says:

      So you’re saying, let the baddies win because the alternative may be worse? A bit defeatist
      isn’t it? Imagine if the Allies had given up after Dunkirk.
      If CR wanted an end to the (physical and economic) pain Russia is placing on the world, we should resign from BRICS and join the civilised Western World ( our biggest and most reliable trading partners) in fighting for peace and concentrate on getting Southern Africa ( Zim, Bots, Zambia, Moz, Malawi and Namibia) to sing off the same hymn sheet, unify resources and tidy up the bit of Africa that could be a powerhouse in its own right! One can still dream!!!!

    • Neil Parker says:

      Ironically Mr Malema finds himself in the same camp as Donald Trump who still thinks Putin is a genius for invading Ukraine. Extreme right and extreme left in politics are not at opposite ends of the political spectrum – they are just the same both being dominated by autocratic dictators with zero respect – neither for democracy nor for the rule of law. I think Donald Trump hoped Putin’s “special military operation” would quickly deliver the necessary dirt on Hunter Biden and Putin would duly be “rewarded” with recognition of his annexation of Ukraine on the basis of it being former Soviet Union “territory” just like Crimea. That said – I agree with your sentiment. We will have to deal with a world in which Putin rules in Russia and (very possibly) Trump in America for quite some time to come.

    • André Pelser says:

      “skilled diplomacy” se voet! Simply a matter of talking to the insignificant pretending to listen.

    • Carsten Rasch says:

      Interesting. Piet Croucamp’s position, too. Must admit I didn’t see that coming. CR also appeared critical of Russia’s child abduction shenanigan, and referred to a ‘war’ not just a conflict.

  • Ludovici DIVES says:

    How is it that Ramaphosa can have the cream of the crop for his security detail and logistics and yet he ends up these clowns. A testament to his management and delegation skills. Mr. Hersov has a point.

  • David Attwell says:

    The best piece of journalism yet on this embarrassing charade, catching every nuance. Thank you.

  • Rae Earl says:

    A great read Mr. Poplak, and lot more objective and balanced than Rebecca Davis’s viewpoint of the same event a few days ago. There can be no excuse for the absolute shambles of the peace mission devised by a desperate ANC in an attempt to make its pro-Russian stance look like something else. The fact that only 3 leaders arrived in Ukraine after the rest had pulled out at the last moment says it all. However, to listen to the ANC and Ramaphosa’s version of the mission, it was the berries. What nonsense. It was no different to the ANC’s shambolic and corrupt behaviour in parliament and in their skewed and aimless attempts to run a country. Raymond Zondo spelled it out in the 5000 page Zondo Report which Ramaphaosa has seen fit to keep under wraps because it exposes too much of what he and his cabinet have been sweeping under the carpet for the past 2 decades in an attempt to hide their wrong doing.

  • Hilary Morris says:

    What a brilliant and utterly depressing analysis of the entire situation. South Africa becomes increasingly embarrassing to live in for anyone not whole-heartedly and feeble-mindedly addicted to the ANC. The phrase, beyond which few are necessary, is “an epic screw-up”. Bloody awful situation but thanks for a great read.

  • Ronnie Veitch says:

    A well scribed article, thanks.
    Unfortunately all the comments are typically “agree”, ‘terrible”, “typical ANC”, etc. I would love to see solution driven comments (practical ones), and not just the “do not vote ANC” statement. We can best rescue the country from the micro differences up until we see/hear an opposition that has clear vision and policies other than “blame, blame, blame”.
    Keep it up DM, you do help to give intelligent comment that somehow has to be acted on.

    • Cecilia Wedgwood says:

      Agree – would also love to see constructive suggestions. There are so many magnificent people and organisations doing wonderful work – ie OUTA, Gift of the Givers, SA Harvest. If there were fewer big egos in politics opposition parties could do the country a service and unite in some form or other. Are there any policy differences to speak of ? The people just want corruption to stop and law and order to prevail.

    • John Nicolson says:

      “- – – We can best rescue the country from the micro differences up until we see/hear an opposition that has clear vision and policies other than “blame, blame, blame” – – –
      Once again, Mr Veitch, you seem to have a blind spot, or maybe a blindly predujiced spot, about the presence of “an opposition that has clear vision and policies”. Why don’t you take the trouble to read the policies and explicitly non-racial principles of the DA – the official opposition in the SA parliament? In addition to the Western Cape province, the DA governs Midvaal and other exemplary municipalities in South Africa. I would be really interested to know the reason for your refusal even to consider this, the only real governance alternative for our country.

  • Charles Dominion says:

    Your incisive, clear commentary makes a difference. Thank you!

  • Cedric Buffler says:

    Gramsci certainly got it right, so has Richard!
    As our industrial/mining sectors continue to make progress in balancing their BEE books, “I’m a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will.” (Gramsci again)

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    This candid and amusing article has been a delight to read!
    It is as serious as CR’s attempt at peace keeping and Putins attempt at being a gracious and convivial host! All we can do is laugh at this ridiculous ANC government now – embarrassment, rage, mourning for what SA was and could have been? Those days are over – acceptance is the only choice and it’s easier to do if you can laugh about it!

  • Mark Gory Gory says:

    Magnificent reading. If only it wasn’t such a tragic subject. Doet so voort

  • avrilkc says:

    Richard Polak is sharp and spot on. He is also brilliantly funny. Such a good piece!

  • Bravo Richard Poplak, one of the best summations of the ‘trip’ I have read and your analysis of Putin, omg, I have been saying this about him for years, its the first time someone has written it so well, thank you!!

  • David Crossley says:

    Psychopaths like Putin are able to lie so conclusively that they end up believing the lie.
    His rebuttal to Ramaphosa was just that, a rant of lies.

  • John Strydom says:

    The expression on Zelensky’s face during the press briefing said it all: this man, Ramasofa, who can’t keep the lights on and the potholes filled in his own country is boasting about how Africa has had, and solved, many conflicts. I felt ashamed for our president. I feel ashamed of South Africa.

  • neill hurford says:

    Richard’s always racy rhetoric overreached itself with “Russia is a dead country, stuck in a ghastly interregnum, oozing morbid symptoms”. The dead have no symptoms. They’re dead. But we note that later, Russia is listed as merely “dying”.
    A rollicking read nevertheless. I’m quite flustered with all the opportunities for alliteration.

  • Graham Shillington says:

    South Africa is kaput, Russia is cooked. This kind of sentiment reminds me of the NY Times willing Trump out of power by telling us he was done. It also reminds me of how we all needed Mgabi to be finished and out, so we were willing to read articles that told us that. These jokers stay in power forever, so I’d prefer more balanced reporting that doesn’t get my hopes up that they’ll disappear soon.

  • Bryan Aitken says:

    A mere thirty years ago, it was said that South Africa could not possibly follow Zimbabwe into the abyss, we have much more infrastructure!
    Why would a continuum of unimpressive leadership do everything in their power to autocratically and systematically disprove this patriotic logic?

  • Derek Jones says:

    Judging by the comments on this page I cant help thinking there is a serious amount of intellect left here. So good to see. But how the hell do we get these clowns and thugs out of office?
    It will take years that we don’t have if we dont DO something. Surely we must all join together and persuade the young to vote, massive outdoor and social campaigns, messages from musicians and athletes…a massive push that we can all contribute to?

  • Cheryl Siewierski says:

    “But in a sudden act of malevolent cartography, Hungary leapt up from behind Poland and interrupted the flight path.” LMAO. Oh, thank you Richard Poplak, for giving me a bloody good laugh over a series of events and moral bludgeons that are truly too horrible to digest without the benefit of humour.


    The totally embarrassing thing is our African leaders going cap in hand to Russia to request a stop to the war because the food supply to Africa has been interrupted. Practically every country in Africa has the potential to supply the same and much more grain than Ukraine, if these idiots just had some ambition of serving their countries and their own people by enabling their economies to flourish instead of following Russia’s kleptocratic example.

  • Peter Tuffin says:

    People are asking for solutions, not just lists of problems. I think it’s a bit like eating the elephant – one bite at a time. There are still people left in South Africa who could have left for other countries but have not. If those of us still here do the little that we can, and can afford, good will come.

    One thing that costs nothing is kindness. Let’s be kind to everyone. Even the taxi drivers, frustrating how they can be.

    Then, if you can afford it, install solar panels, invest in companies that do that. Harvest rain water, support agriculture that renews the planet. That sort of thing.

  • Patrick Dowling says:

    Superb piece, Richard – Mordant and prophetic

  • 1957.tonycole says:

    A great analysis, but sadly playing the race card again. The Polish had every right to embargo weapons of war inappropriate for the mission. The inclusion of long-range sniper rifles is suspect in the extreme. I suspect these were to be left in Russia. The question remains-what else was in the 12 containers? You fail to mention that the “racist” Russians denied landing rights. Please lets have balanced reporting. The race card does not travel well

  • Frederik van Niekerk says:

    Have you noticed: they call each other “honorable member” in parliament… 🤣

    • Bill Gild says:

      Yes, the appellation, “honourable member” has always struck me as wholly inappropriate and hilarious, esp. as “we” continue to level scathing remarks about the global north and their institutions.

  • carosut46 says:

    Brilliant ( and spot on ) journalism. Love DM !

  • André Pelser says:

    This exercise was indeed a farce, tragic comedy. Africa should mind its own business first before telling a nuclear power and the victim of its flagrant aggression what they should be doing. The effrontery and impudence is mind boggling. Why are these “leaders” not visiting Sudan, Ethiopia or the Congo? Surely charity begins at home?

  • Graeme Bird says:

    Poplak for president! If Ukraine can elect a comedian what better than one of the finest purveyors of black comedy for us

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.

Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.8% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.2% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.2% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.2%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options