By Zukile Majova
No one outside President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government can dictate to the government how it should conduct its foreign policy affairs.
This is the latest response from Ramaphosa on court challenges that have been launched by various organisations in South Africa to compel his government to arrest Russian President Vladimir Putin if he visits the country.
Putin and other heads of state of Brics nations have been invited to a summit of these developing nations to be hosted by South Africa in August.
The government is still discussing how to respond to a warrant of arrest issued by the International Criminal Court against the Russian president for war crimes in Ukraine.
The official opposition, the Democratic Alliance, has launched a court application in the Gauteng High Court requesting a declaratory order “to the effect that if President Vladimir Putin arrives in South Africa to attend the Brics summit, and upon receipt of a request from the International Criminal Court (ICC) to arrest Putin, the South African government must immediately detain and surrender President Putin to the ICC”.
“The DA is launching this action to avoid a repeat of the Al-Bashir saga when the South African government failed to uphold its duty to make an arrest in 2015,” the party said.
Ramaphosa said his government has not yet taken a position on the matter.
“Yes I have noted that some people have gone to court. But in the end matters of conducting foreign policy and matters of inviting whoever, like we invited [Portuguese] President [Marcelo Rebelo de] Sousa, is a function of the executive.
“It’s not a function of other people outside of the executive so it is the government, it is the president who invites other heads of state.
“That function is not devolved to any other person,” Ramaphosa told reporters at the Union Building while hosting the Portuguese president on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Ramaphosa and six African heads of state are due to travel to Ukraine and Russia on an African Peace Initiative to begin talks that may lead to a ceasefire in the region.
Pictured above: Presidents Ramaphosa and Putin
Picture source: GCIS