The impact on the South African economy of any secondary sanctions which the US might impose on this country because of its stance on Russia’s war against Ukraine – including the alleged supply of arms to Russia – would be ‘massive’, says Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana.
Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana made it clear that the government had been informed by US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in February already that Washington suspected that South Africa had loaded weapons and ammunition on to the Russian cargo ship Lady R in December last year.
Godongwana said the government had begun to respond to the allegations at that time and had decided to appoint a retired judge to investigate the US allegations about the Lady R, at the same time as it decided to send national security adviser Sydney Mufamadi to the US to defuse the rising tensions between the two countries.
The Finance Minister was speaking during a briefing given by Mufamadi to describe his mission, which he said had accomplished its task of reaching an understanding with the US about SA’s position on the Russia-Ukraine conflict and other issues, in a series of meetings between senior Biden administration officials, members of Congress and other stakeholders in the relationship between the two countries.
The tension exploded this week when US ambassador to South Africa Reuben Brigety went public for the first time with the US allegations that South Africa had loaded weapons and ammunition on the Lady R…