I have today written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, to request that she schedule a debate of urgent national public importance on the unfolding crisis surrounding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
This Russian aggression is a violation of international law and should be strongly condemned by freedom-loving people across the globe. Many national leaders have added their voices to the growing chorus of outrage and condemnation, but our own President Cyril Ramaphosa has been ominously silent on the issue.
The belated statement by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) yesterday afternoon did not go far enough in condemning this act of aggression by the Russian Federation. President Ramaphosa has also not used the voice he has as a member of BRICS to speak out strongly against Russia and President Putin.
As a signatory to the United Nations Charter, we have a duty “[to] maintain international peace and security….[though] the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace”. Government’s actions and President Ramaphosa’s voice have been entirely insufficient to date.
The National Assembly, in terms of section 92(2) of the Constitution, has a duty to hold the president and cabinet accountable for this failure of leadership. This is a matter for which Government can, and should, be held responsible, and which can urgently be addressed in parliament.
If the Executive branch of government finds it difficult to stand up to its dubious global allies, then the Legislative branch should guide its hand.