'My take on Russia's invasion of Ukraine is it should be condemned' - Kgalema Motlanthe

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Former president Kgalema Motlanthe.
Former president Kgalema Motlanthe.
Masi Losi, Gallo Images, Sowetan
  • Former statesman Kgalema Motlante said the Russian invasion of Ukraine could have been avoided.
  • There is a build-up to wars and shots aren't fired first, he said.
  • He also questioned the decision to ban Russia from international football.

As South Africa's stance on the Russian invasion of Ukraine remains neutral, former South African president Kgalema Motlanthe has condemned the conflict, saying there were opportunities to avoid it.

"The war itself should be condemned. No war solves [a] problem. My take on Russia's invasion of Ukraine [is that it] should be condemned," he said.

"Any war doesn't start when first, shots are fired. There is always a build-up." he added.

"We (South Africa) are an excellent example of that. There is no doubt there were opportunities that could have prevented the war's outbreak...it is a no-win situation for both countries. Russians themselves sit with a war they didn't approve of."

Motlanthe was addressing an online discussion by think tank, The Centre for Development and Enterprise, on Wednesday, which author Ann Bernstein hosted.

READ | 3 ways Russia's invasion of Ukraine affects SA's economy

He also questioned the decision of football federation FIFA to suspend Russia from participating in international football.

"FIFA suspended Russia because of its invasion, meaning the separation of sport and politics is called into question. 


Turning his attention to the state of the ANC, the former president said the party was within its rights to take steps to renew itself.

He added that South Africa should move on.  

"By the time the ANC believes it has renewed itself, it should catch up."

Motlanthe added that the political parties in the country didn't represent the future and that formations to take the country forward were yet to come.

READ | Pretoria-based Ukraine ambassador says 'we didn't receive a strong message about Russia' from SA

Motlanthe alluded to some of the opposition parties, and said "one" didn't recognise parts of the national anthem.

"It is an anomaly," he said.

"Parties, to be serious players going forward, are still to re-emerge. This shows there is going to be realignment."

Last year, Motlanthe said factionalism within the party could destroy the ANC. 

"The problem is that we're openly trying to populate a list of candidates along factional lines. You ask yourself a question, where the ANC is. The ANC has to resist being reduced to factions.

"As the electoral committee, we had to raise it (factions) and call for action against factions," Motlanthe said. 

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


"We suffer from a number of handicaps. Key among them is basic education, which must be fixed. We must get the German TVET system and implement it. Our TVET colleges are not producing skills solely needed by our economy."

Motlanthe added that a high-level panel recommendation was to convince Parliament to amend the Labour Relations Act to create space for small entrepreneurs and operators, and exempt them from having to live up to the standards of collective bargaining councils.

"The taxi industry, for years, hasn't been paying tax. They are currently organised, and SARS can easily bring them into the bracket of taxpayers. We should be establishing microfinancing for small businesses...The only way to reduce poverty is to get people to work."

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