Steenhuisen: ANC hiding behind ‘veneer of neutrality’ in Russia-Ukraine war

The Democratic Alliance leader said the ANC, which once relied on global solidarity in the struggle to end apartheid, had now sided with the oppressor.

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen. Picture: @jsteenhuisen/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Opposition leader John Steenhuisen has accused the African National Congress (ANC) government of hiding behind the veneer of neutrality to give tacit support to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) leader said that the ANC, which once relied on global solidarity in the struggle to end apartheid, had now sided with the oppressor.

Steenhuisen was introducing a debate on the impact of the invasion on South Africa’s economy.

He said there was no moral ambiguity about Russia committing “an unjustifiable act of war” against its weaker neighbour, Ukraine.

“Every world leader with a moral conscience has condemned it and called on Russia to withdraw, but not South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa. Under a shameful veneer of neutrality, the ANC government has effectively pledged its tacit support for Putin’s imperial march to restore his lost empire. When ANC ministers attend a cocktail function glorifying the might of the Russian army on the very day of the invasion, you don’t have to read between the lines.”

Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Candith Mashego-Dlamini told the house that BRICS leaders were committed to not interfering in each other’s internal affairs and repeated calls for dialogue to end the conflict.

“As the government of South Africa, we urge all South Africans not to take sides in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine as this could go against our principles. In addition, we have good bilateral relations with both countries.”