The ANC announced on Saturday that it will send some of its senior officials to Russia to meet the Russian President, Vladimir Putin’s party.
Obed Bapela, vice-chairman of the sub-committee for relations in the ANC, will focus in discussions with United Russia on “the recalibration of the global order to reverse the consequences of neo-colonialism and the previously prevailing unipolar world”, says the ANC.
United Russia is Russia’s largest political party and a long-standing ally and friend of the ANC.
In the delegation is Alvin Botes, a member of the national executive committee (NEC) and deputy minister of international relations and cooperation.
The delegation is also expected to participate in the first international organizing committee of the interparty forum, which includes progressive as well as fraternal movements and political parties from Africa, Asia and Latin America.
The delegation will report to the NEC on its return and update the public on the mission and plans of the inter-party forum.
Naledi Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, made it clear once again this week that Russia is South Africa’s “friend”.
“And while we have friends around the world, we cannot suddenly become enemies at the request of others,” Pandor said on Thursday at the opening of the joint intergovernmental committee of South Africa and Russia on trade and economic cooperation in Pretoria. This meeting was attended by Alexander Kozlof, Russian Minister of National Resources and Environment.
“There are some who do not want us not to have relations with an old historical friend. We have made it clear that Russia is a friend, and we have had cooperative partnerships for many, many years,” Pandor said.
As earlier report South Africa was one of 32 member states of the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) that abstained from voting in February this year on the resolution that Russia must immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all its troops from Ukraine.
With its decision to abstain, the South African government indicated that it wanted to remain neutral in order to maintain good relations with both countries. The South African government has also in January rolled out the red carpet for Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergei Lavrov, and in February also had a joint military exercise with China and Russia.
According to Jaco Kleynhans, head of international liaison at the Solidarity Movement, South Africa clings to Russia’s coattails due to ideological and historical factors.
“South Africa is ideologically attracted to Russia and has a historical and romantic image of the Soviet Union’s communist and socialist outlook. What the government does not understand, however, is that Russia is no longer a communist country,” said Kleynhans.
According to Kleynhans, South Africa also has a “historical loyalty” to Russia, a country that supported South Africa during the apartheid years.
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