Fikile Mbalula, the newly-elected Secretary General of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC), engaged in a heated exchange with BBC journalist Stephen Sackur, countering calls for the arrest of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Mbalula, while rejecting the calls to arrest Putin, drew attention to alleged war crimes committed by Western countries in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other regions.
The interview aired last week, nearly two months after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Putin in March. The warrant requires South Africa to detain him during the upcoming BRICS meetings in the country. BRICS refers to the five regional economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
During the interview on the BBC’s @BBCHARDtalk show, Mbalula stood firm in his position, challenging Sackur’s questioning about the potential arrest of Putin. As the head of the ANC, Mbalula made it clear that South Africa would not yield to external pressure, including from Western nations.
Mbalula passionately pointed out what he perceived as hypocrisy from the West, particularly citing Iraq and Afghanistan. He highlighted alleged war crimes committed by Western countries like Britain and the United States, questioning why their leaders had not faced consequences.
Specifically referencing the lack of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which had been used to justify military action, Mbalula stressed the need for uniform accountability and expressed frustration with selective targeting of leaders. He called for a fair and balanced approach to international relations.
The ANC leader strongly advocated for a focus on peace and conflict resolution instead of singling out individual leaders for arrest. He emphasized the importance of addressing alleged war crimes committed by all parties involved, including Western nations.
While the interview briefly touched on domestic South African politics, the clash between Mbalula and Sackur has sparked a broader debate about the delicate balance between diplomatic relations and accountability for alleged war crimes.
As South Africa prepares to host the BRICS meeting, the country’s refusal to arrest Putin and its emphasis on alleged war crimes by Western countries in Iraq and Afghanistan have raised questions about justice and the complexities of international relations.