DA distances itself from Parliament's rejection of motion condemning Russia

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DA caucus leader Annelie Lotriet.
DA caucus leader Annelie Lotriet.
Jan Gerber
  • The DA distanced itself from the South African parliamentary delegation's rejection of a resolution condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
  • The South African delegation was one of nine Parliaments that didn't support the Inter-Parliamentary Union's resolution.
  • DA MP Annelie Lotriet said Russia's invasion of Ukraine was an unjustifiable act of war, and that the ANC and EFF should hang their heads in shame.

The DA member of the South African Parliament's delegation to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Annelie Lotriet, said she fully supported a resolution.

She said that "the ongoing Russian use of force against Ukraine is a violation of the Charter of the United Nations, including the principle of sovereignty and territorial integrity".

On Wednesday, the South African delegation, led by Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, distanced itself from the resolution, along with Bahrain, Belarus, China, Iran, the Syrian Arab Republic, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe.

Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Zimbabwe expressed reservations to parts of the resolution.

The resolution noted that "on 24 February 2022, the Russian Federation launched a full-scale military attack invading the sovereign nation of Ukraine and its people".

It further expressed grave concern about "the threat to global peace and security posed by the decision to order Russian nuclear forces onto a special regime of operation and a 'high alert' level of readiness, and noting the urgency for the Russian Federation to withdraw this threat and refrain from making such threats".

The resolution also noted that "the Russian Federation has committed an act of aggression that may constitute a violation of a fundamental rule of international law".

READ | Parliament distances itself from resolution condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine

EFF chief whip Floyd Shivambu objected on South Africa's behalf, saying certain clauses of the resolution would jeopardise the IPU's role and obligation as an impartial mediator for peaceful resolutions in the conflict.

"There are certain objectionable statements that are made in the resolution. It doesn't matter whether they are factually true or not. What is of matter is the fact that they are objectionable and will weaken the integrity of the IPU in mediating on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine," said Shivambu, who recently expressed his support for Russia in a debate in the National Assembly.

"To wholly say that the Russian Federation is using artillery and missiles to destroy civilian populations; it is using missiles to destroy medical units and personnel, will not be an adequate basis for an mediation."

He said the Russian Federation would express a view that the IPU had already passed judgement on its activities.

"We cannot be forced to be part of a master narrative that reinforces the views of certain countries, particularly in Western Europe and the United States of America."  

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February, the South African government and ANC had tacitly supported Russia by refusing to acknowledge the invasion as an act of Russian aggression, while the EFF openly supported Russia.

The DA, and the DA-governed Western Cape and Cape Town, condemned Russia and stood in solidarity with Ukraine.

READ | Russia-Ukraine: Speaker Mapisa-Nqakula toes the party line at international event

In a statement released on Thursday, Lotriet - the only member of the delegation not from the ANC or EFF - said she fully supported the motion at the IPU.

"The DA's stance on the war in Ukraine is clear: we believe that the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation under Vladimir Putin is an act of war for which there is no justification, and we condemn it in the strongest terms," she said.

"Yet, despite the DA's support for the resolution, the ANC and EFF rejected the motion. It is important to note that it was only South Africa and Belarus that rejected the resolution outright."

She said it was crystal clear that the ANC and the EFF were denying the realities of the war and refused to recognise Russia as the aggressor.

"The ANC and EFF must hang their heads in shame. They are on the wrong side of history."

Lotriet said she approached different delegations and the IPU president to put the DA's position forward.

She said:

The ANC and EFF's decision to support Putin's murderous campaign in Ukraine is a moral failure on their part, not on South Africans.

She said the DA would remain on the right side of history and would continue to condemn the war when and wherever it could.

The IPU's 144th general assembly concluded on Thursday in Bali, Indonesia.

Apart from Lotriet, Mapisa-Nqakula and Shivambu, South Africa was represented by NCOP deputy chairperson Sylvia Lucas, National Assembly House chairperson Cedric Frolick, ANC deputy chief whip Doris Dlakude, and ANC MP Fikile Masiko.

The IPU is a global organisation of national parliaments, founded more than 130 years ago as the first multilateral political organisation in the world, encouraging cooperation and dialogue between all nations. The IPU has 178 national member parliaments and 14 regional parliamentary bodies.

The Russian Federation is also a member, but boycotted this year's event in response to a strongly-worded statement by the IPU condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

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