DA leader John Steenhuisen said on Friday that he had written to National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula asking him to plan a debate of urgent national public interest on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday unleashed a large-scale invasion that killed dozens of people, forced more than 50,000 to flee Ukraine in just 48 hours and sparked fears of a new Cold War in Europe.
Steenhuisen said the Russian aggression was a violation of international law, and while many world leaders had added their voices to the growing chorus of outrage and condemnation against the invasion of Moscow, President Cyril Ramaphosa was “ominously silent” on the matter.
This is despite Ramaphosa’s call on Friday to the United Nations (UN) to take the lead mediation in the conflict† Ramaphosa said international organizations must engage and mediate between the two countries to end the war.
Steenhuisen said that the “late” statementby the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) on Thursday afternoon — calling on Russia to immediately withdraw its troops from Ukraine — did not go far enough in condemning the Russian Federation, which belongs to South Africa. Brics partner.
“President Ramaphosa has also not used the voice he has as a member of Brics to speak out strongly against Russia and President Putin,” the DA leader said in a statement. statement†
United Nations Charter
He said that as a signatory to the UN Charter, the South African government had a duty”[to] maintain international peace and security… [through] the prevention and elimination of threats to peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other violations of peace”.
The government’s action and Ramaphosa’s voice had been completely inadequate so far, Steenhuisen said.
“The National Assembly, in terms of Section 92(2) of the Constitution, has a duty to hold the President and Cabinet accountable for this leadership failure.
“This is a matter for which the government can and should be held accountable, and which urgently needs to be addressed in Parliament.
“If the executive branch of the government finds it difficult to stand up to its dubious global allies, then the legislature should turn it down,” he said.
Ukrainian and Russian troops fight in the streets of Kiev
Meanwhile Ukrainian soldiers repulsed a Russian attack in the capital, the military said early Saturday, just hours after President Volodymyr Zelensky warned Moscow would try to take Kiev before dawn.
The Ukrainian army said Russia had “attacked one of the military units on Victory Avenue in Kiev”, but the attack had been “repulsed”. It also reported another incident northwest of the capital.
Kiev said 137 people, including soldiers and civilians, were killed.
Previously, firearms and explosions were heard in the capital’s northern Obolonsky district, when what appeared to be a vanguard of the Russian invasion force left a trail of destruction.
Ukrainian troops reported fighting with Russian armored units at two locations between 40-80 kilometers north of Kiev.
Ukraine’s defense ministry said 2,800 Russian soldiers had been killed, without providing evidence.
Moscow has yet to report any casualties.
Additional reporting by AFP