PRETORIA – An independent inquiry has found no evidence that South Africa supplied weapons to Russia, President Cyril Ramaphosa has said.
The panel rejected claims made by the United States (US) Ambassador to South Africa that a Russian ship was loaded with ammunition and arms in Cape Town last December.
The allegations had raised questions over the country’s professed neutrality in the war with Ukraine.
BBC Reports that Ramaphosa said it had damaged the nation’s currency and reputation.
“The panel found that there was no evidence to support the claim that the ship transported weapons from South Africa destined for Russia,” the president said in a televised address to the nation on Sunday.
“No permit was issued for the export of arms and no arms were exported,” he said.
The inquiry found instead that the Russian cargo ship had delivered a consignment of weapons from Russia to South Africa, ordered in 2018.
Ambassador Reuben Brigety’s claims referred to the docking of Lady R in the Simon’s Town naval base between 6 and 8 December 2022.
He told a media briefing in Pretoria in May he was “confident” weapons and ammunition were loaded to the vessel “as it made its way back to Russia”.
A day later, South Africa’s foreign ministry said Brigety had “apologized unreservedly” for the claims.
Writing on social media after the meeting, Brigety said he was “grateful for the opportunity to… correct any misimpressions left by my public remarks”.
Ramaphosa ordered an independent judge-led inquiry in the wake of Brigety’s comments.
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