What does South Africa want from Russia?
- Video Caption: 1 Diplo’s 2019 VMAs, Themed Suit
What does South Africa Want from Russia?
What does South Africa want from Russia? Or more specifically, what does South African President Cyril Ramaphosa want from Russian President Vladimir Putin? Are they just having a series of one-night stands for short term political pleasure to relieve domestic and international pressure? Or are they building a symbiotic long-term relationship that will truly benefit their people?
South Africa's army chief, Lieutenant General Lawrence Mbatha, is on an official visit to Russia in this third week of May to lay the groundwork for military cooperation between the two countries. According to the Russian state news agency, South Africa’s Army Chief is meeting with his Russian Counterpart General Oleg Salyukov, for talks on 'improving combat readiness'. To what end? Your guess is as good as mine.
Barely one week ago, the US dramatically accused South Africa of supplying roses, sorry arms, to Russia. As the leading arms supplier in the world, the US should take a chill pill on this one. However, Cyril Ramaphosa owes South Africans and indeed Africans a convincing, plausible answer to this question – what do you want from Russia?
I hope this Russian embrace isn’t solely driven by nostalgia. Nostalgia isn’t a good foot to stand on when you are dealing with consequential geopolitical matters.
Or is it about the BRICS club that South Africa is a proud member of? Russia, Brazil, India and China are the other members of this club. Militarily speaking, is BRICS the new NATO? Meaning that an attack on a member of BRICS will now be deemed as an attack on all BRICS members?
Although South Africa is sub-Saharan Africa’s second largest economy, poverty and crime have risen to stratospheric levels in the country. Will this flourishing relationship with Russia help in tackling this in an Afro-centric, sustainable way?