South Africa’s stance on the Russian invasion of Ukraine demonstrates that the country’s crisis of governance is not confined to the domestic scene. President Cyril Ramaphosa’s approach to the war has been afflicted by the same blend of ineffectual leadership and ideological grandstanding that characterizes his domestic performance.
New tensions in South Africa’s relationship with the U.S. emerged last week when Washington’s ambassador to Pretoria accused the country of providing arms to Russia despite Pretoria’s stated nonalignment in the war in Ukraine. The dispute could have implications for Washington’s “reset” of its relations with African countries.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa created confusion about the country’s relationship with the International Criminal Court when he suggested that Pretoria would withdraw from the court. But the larger debate about the ICC’s relationship with Africans is the prism through which Ramaphosa’s remarks must be viewed.