President Cyril Ramaphosa says the panel investigation into the Russian vessel, Lady R that docked in Simonstown, has found no evidence of cargo that was allegedly loaded on the vessel.
In May, the US ambassador to South Africa Reuben Brigety said South Africa had provided arms to Russia in the midst of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
This prompted President Ramaphosa to establish an inquiry into Brigety’s remarks. He says more than 100 documents were obtained during the investigations by the panel headed by retired Judge Phineas Mojapelo.
“The panel found that there was no evidence to support the claim that the ship transported weapons destined for Russia,” Ramaphosa reiterates.
He says allegations that South Africa is supplying arms to Russia at the time when there’s a war between Russia and Ukraine have tarnished the image of the country, its economy and the currency.
President Ramaphosa says the panel report has vindicated South Africa…
“The allegations levelled against our country had a most damaging effect on our currency, on our economy and our standing in the world, to enquire into the circumstances of the docking of this Russian ship known as Lady R.”
Video: President Ramaphosa to address the nation on conclusion of Lady R vessel investigation
Meanwhile, the South African president says South Africa stands to benefit from an expanded BRICS bloc. He was addressing the nation on the outcomes of the BRICS Summit that took place last week in Sandton, Johannesburg.
A significant decision the BRICS leaders took at the 15th BRICS summit was to expand BRICS from five to eleven member states. These are Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates whose membership will be effective from 1st of January 2024.
“Together, these countries make up a third of the global economy and are together home to 46% of the world’s population. Already, we have achieved great benefits from our relations with our BRICS member countries, Brazil, Russia, India and China. These countries are important destinations for South Africa’s products and services. They are also important sources of investment and are becoming even more important as tourism markets,” says Ramaphosa.
He added that the BRICS summit took a decision that central bank governors of member state should consider the use various currencies in international trades.
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