South Africa must be punished for participating in joint military operations with Russia. South Africa is a British Commonwealth country, but perhaps the UK ought to reconsider that relationship. What can be done? Well, the UK – and most of the Western world – wrote the handbook on how to punish South Africa during the 1970s and 80s: expulsion from the Commonwealth, political isolation, cultural and sporting boycotts, trade embargoes, disinvestment, and, of course, economic sanctions.
All of these should be applied.
This military co-operation so far has taken the form of joint drills, some of which have included China, but as the Free World lines up for a potential World War, were that war to come about, it is clear which side South Africa would be on. Furthermore, it is simply unconscionable that a country supposedly in the Democratic orbit would hold joint military exercises’ with Russia while Russia is prosecuting an illegitimate and murderous war in Ukraine. As a symbolic slap in the face of decency, South Africa has scheduled its joint naval exercises with Russia on 24 February, the anniversary of the Ukraine invasion.
This cannot go unchallenged by the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries. South Africa cannot be a member of this alliance while consorting with the enemies of the democratic world. It is really that simple. On the 24th of February, South Africa should be expelled from the Commonwealth.
What’s worse is that this support for the Kremlin is not only potentially military. It is diplomatic. Only this week, the SA Foreign Minister, Naledi Pandor, hosted her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Pretoria. At the United Nations, South Africa either abstains or supports Russia. Last year, South Africa refused to seize the superyacht of a Russian Oligarch in compliance with international sanctions. And perhaps, most disgracefully of all, the Youth League of the ruling African National Congress sent a delegation of ‘Observers’ to legitimise the bogus referendum in the Donbas as a precursor to Russia’s illegal annexation.
It is no surprise, of course, since SA is flush with dirty Russian money.
So let’s marginalise this rogue state. We’ve done it before, it shouldn’t be hard to do it again. Write to your MP. Demand action.
[Photo credit: Creative Commons, www.kremlin.ru]