According to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, an impartial investigation found “no evidence” to support charges that his nation provided weaponry to Russia.
Reuben Brigety, the American ambassador to South Africa, alleged that in December of last year, the Russian ship Lady R was loaded with weapons and ammunition at a naval base close to Cape Town.
The investigation discovered that the Russian cargo ship had actually delivered the South African National Defence Force’s 2018 purchase for munitions.
Ramaphosa claimed that despite speaking with 50 persons and reviewing more than 100 papers, there was no proof that any weaponry had been exported.
“When all matters are considered, none of the allegations made about the supply of weapons to Russia have been proven to be true,” Ramaphosa said on Sunday.
“None of the persons who made these allegations could provide any evidence to support the claims that had been levelled against our country.”
Ramaphosa said the allegation had “had a most damaging effect on our currency, our economy; and our standing in the world, in fact, it tarnished our image”.
Ramaphosa said he would only be releasing an executive summary of the report due to security considerations.
The South African leader ordered an inquiry led by a retired judge after the US ambassador told a media briefing in May that he was “confident” weapons and ammunition had been loaded onto a vessel bound for Russia.
Later, the South African foreign ministry said that Brigety had expressed regret for his words, and the US diplomat later expressed gratitude for the chance to “correct any misimpressions left by my public remarks” in a post on social media.
Since Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, which drew censure from the US and other Western nations, South Africa has maintained amicable relations with Russia, despite its ruling African National Congress having historical links to the Soviet Union.
Under Ramaphosa, the nation has welcomed Russian Navy drills and refuses to support Western criticism of Moscow or economic penalties against it.
Ramaphosa hosted the BRICS meeting in Johannesburg last month, inviting representatives from China, India, Russia, and other significant developing economies.