The Pretoria High Court ordered on Tuesday that pres. Cyril Ramaphosa’s sworn statement, regarding Russian President Vladimir Putin’s possible arrest, must be made public.
The International Criminal Court has issued a warrant for Putin’s arrest in connection with alleged war crimes. As part of the Rome Statute, which South Africa signed, the country will be expected to arrest Putin if he were to attend the Brics summit to be held in Johannesburg in August.
However, Ramaphosa said in an affidavit to the court, as part of the case by the Democratic Alliance to arrest Putin, that South Africa could run the risk of war against Russia if this were to happen.
Ramaphosa submitted the statement as confidential, but the High Court has now ordered that it be made public.
According to the president, Putin’s arrest would be a “declaration of war”. He insists he has an obligation to protect South Africa against war with Russia.
John Steenhuisen, leader of the DA, welcomed the court ruling.
“It is clear that the South African government is making every effort to obfuscate and obfuscate this core matter to avoid public scrutiny and to hide its inability to act against warmongers and dictators like Vladimir Putin, as one would expected from a foreign policy based on human rights.”
Steenhuisen believes the “ridiculous nature” of President Ramaphosa’s statement is a good reason why he did not want it to be made public.
“The weak arguments that claim that the Russian Federation would declare war on South Africa if we arrest Vladimir Putin are nothing more than straw man arguments, as the constitutional principle and both domestic and international law greatly outweigh the merits of this case clarify.
“What makes the president’s statement comical is his claim that refusing to arrest Putin would ignore the sovereignty of the Russian Federation, while the South African government, in supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, cares very little for the sovereignty of the Ukrainian state. It has always been our belief that the public interest in this matter outweighs the government’s efforts at perceived confidentiality. This is particularly important given the enormous implications for all South Africans who depend on the government’s decision in this matter, including South Africa’s position on the international stage if there is a repeat of the circumstances surrounding the visit of Omar Al -Bashir hung, where South Africa failed in its statutory obligation to both its own foreign policy and a mandate by the International Criminal Court.”
Steenhuisen says that when hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of rand in addition to exports, related to South Africa’s preferential access to the United States’ market are put at stake through the American Growth and Opportunities for Africa Act (Agoa), the implications of this matter rightly the matter of all the South African people.
“We look forward to the merits of this case being defended in an open court, where it belongs in any open constitutional democracy, and we will resist any further attempts by the government and the ANC to take its decisions from the people of South hiding Africa. This includes the report on the circumstances surrounding the Lady R, which the government is trying to cover up in a similar way.
“When foreign policy decisions have the ability to destroy South Africa’s international reputation, harm our influence as a regional power and destroy our economy, it is essential that the government fulfills its obligation to be open and transparent with its people. South Africa fought to be free from a secretive state that strictly censored its citizens – we will not allow the ANC to use these tactics to keep South Africans in the dark.”
Vincent Magwenya, spokesman for the presidency, meanwhile said the president also welcomes the decision that the statement should be made public.
“President Ramaphosa was never opposed to the disclosure of the statements; it was only to comply with the guidelines of the International Criminal Court that the president’s office attempted to maintain confidentiality around the statement.”