SA Cannot be Testing Ground for ‘unstoppable’ Russian Weapons While its Own House is Falling Apart

ActionSA strongly condemns plans by the South African government to partake in a joint military exercise between Russia and China – formally known as Exercise Mosi II off the KwaZulu-Natal coast – where Russia’s infamous hypersonic Zircon missile is set to be tested.

The joint military exercise between Russia, China and South Africa will amount to a propaganda exercise by the Russian government, as reported by Business Insider South Africa, to portray the country’s military might ahead of a potential escalation in the ongoing Ukraine-Russia war.

South Africa simply cannot afford to become involved in a new cold war between the West and the East at a time when the country’s own house of cards is falling apart, with the country facing a number of domestic crises such as rolling blackouts, increasing cost of living, and failing municipalities.

The military exercise off the South African coast will likely be seen as South Africa aligning ourselves with the Russian government during the Ukraine-Russia war which may further antagonise our strategic partners, and jeopardize trade relations which is crucial to safeguard the country’s economy.

Taking on an explicit position of support for Russia may further harm South Africa’s reputation with our international partners. At a time where our economy is already struggling, the reality is that we cannot afford to alienate major trade partners by becoming a participant in Russia’s military propaganda, which offers no clear benefit to South Africa.

During the military exercise later in February, Russia is set to test its hypersonic Zircon missile which has never been seen in public, and is believed to be nearly unstoppable – being able to destroy an enemy target as far away as Durban is from Cape Town.

ActionSA reiterates that it is opposed to all forms of aggression and respects the sovereignty of the Ukrainian people during the ongoing conflict and therefore asks that the South African government distances itself from the military exercise.

The Ukrainian war has already brought immense suffering to the people of South Africa, in the form of rising fuel and bread prices, not to mention the thousands of civilian deaths in both Ukraine and Russia. It is concerning that the ANC-led government would contribute in any way to escalating the war.

The ANC-led government should respect international rule of law and follow Mandela’s dream of South Africa using the international stage as a champion for human rights. Rather than being party to military exercises with an aggressor country, South Africa should be committing itself to help bring the war in Ukraine to an end.

For too long the South African government has to aim to please the Russian government at the cost of the South African people, and ActionSA will maintain pressure to ensure that human rights are respected in South Africa’s foreign policy.