US Bill on Russia will punish African countries: SA Prez Cyril Ramaphosa


A US Bill that seeks to act against African countries that support Russian activities on the continent has been described by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa as having the potential of punishing these countries.

Addressing a meeting with the US Congress Black caucus and anti-apartheid veterans on Friday, Ramaphosa said that the bill if passed could have unintended consequences on the African continent.

He strongly condemned the United States proposed Russian Malicious Acts Bill as harmful to Africas development. The bill would oblige Washington to punish any governments in Africa that help Russian malign activities, SA people News, a South African news portal reported.

(If passed) the law could have the unintended consequence of punishing the continent for efforts to advance development and growth, Ramaphosa said.


In terms of the Bill, the US will assess the influence that Russia has on African countries, especially those which it believes undermines the interests of those nations.

Analysts have long said that both Russia and China are having strong impacts on the continent with their investments in infrastructure, potentially creating obligations on the part of the African countries.

“I think (the Act) will harm Africa and marginalise the continent. We should not be told by anyone who we can associate with, Ramaphosa told the media after his meeting.

This echoed earlier sentiment expressed by South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, when she told a media briefing together with US Foreign Secretary Anthony Blinken after his visit to the country last month.

Pandor said then that attempts to bully any nations into taking sides in the current Ukraine-Russia conflict was unacceptable.

South Africa, together with neighbouring states Zimbabwe, Namibia and Mozambique, were among the countries that abstained from voting at the UN General Assembly earlier this year on a resolution demanding that Russia immediately withdraw from Ukraine.

Ramaphosa said that the US and Russia, the latter a partner in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) coalition, were both strategic partners for South Africa.

As a sovereign country that pursues an independent foreign policy, the Bill seems to punish those who hold independent views. It is disappointing that this Bill has been crafted at a time when President Biden has sought to engage African countries on the basis of respect for their independence and sovereignty, Ramaphosa said.

Despite this strong view, Biden welcomed Ramaphosa to the White House for a meeting.

“We really need to make sure we fully understand one another. Our partnership is essential,” Biden said.

Ramaphosa told Biden that his country would work closely with the US on issues related to health, security and climate change, while also cautioning the US head of state but warned against punishing African nations for maintaining ties with Russia.

Ramaphosa lauded the role of US anti-apartheid activists in the United States for the support they had provided in bringing about the end of decades of white minority rule in the country. After our experience of apartheid, we know that self-determination can only be achieved with the support and solidarity of the people of the world, Ramaphosa said as he the urged the Congressional Black Caucus to continue the fight against international human rights violations globally. He also asked the Caucus to encourage investment in South Africa and the African continent.

Ramaphosa left the US on Saturday to attend the state funeral of the late Queen Elizabeth in the UK on Monday.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)