- Julius Malema says that the war in Ukraine is a war of imperialism and that Russia is fighting against imperialism.
- He maintains that Russia is an ally of South Africa, and that South Africa maintains position on non-alignment in the war.
- Malema says that he will support Russia because EFF is dedicated to fighting imperialism; and that he would even supply arms of war to Russia.
The protracted and devastating Russia-Ukraine War is purely a battle of imperialism, and Russia is wholly dedicated to fighting this war of imperialist aggression, according to the incisive and provocative Julius Malema, the leader of the South African opposition party Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).
Julius Malema went as far as saying that if push comes to shove, he would supply Russia with weapons in order to fight against this war of imperialism in Ukraine, which is largely spurred by the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
These remarks from Malema come against the backdrop of increasingly acrimonious diplomatic relations between the United States and South Africa. The former perceives the latter as committing unforgivable violations of its foreign policy; since South Africa has become more allied with Russia than the United States. For the U.S., South Africa must not turn towards Russia and China in terms of political, military, and economic partnerships.
Malema, in a Hardtalk interview with BBC’s veteran anchor Stephen Sackur, highlighted that South Africa is Russia’s ally, and that the country’s non-alignment stance, as led by the African National Congress (ANC) government, only applied to the war in Ukraine.
Malema remarked in the interview: “In the context of the war, South Africa is an ally of Russia, now the second question is where does South Africa stand on the war? It says I am non-aligned in relation to war but Russia remains South Africa’s friend, so we cannot create confusion around there, don’t create an impression that it is Malema who is going to come and create an alliance with Russia.
“Actually, I would go beyond that, I would go beyond the friendship with Russia. In the war I would align with Russia and I would even supply the weapons to Russia because Russia is in a war with imperialism and any agenda that seeks to push back the imperialist agenda is well within the policies of the EFF.”
The EFF leader also called for South Africa to withdraw its membership from the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The ICC has come under scrutiny the world over for its double standards in its application of international law—it is accused of leading prosecutions against leaders of countries associated with war and conflict, while turning a blind eye to the leaders of the United States and the West at large who in most instances are the ones who instigate wars of aggression.
A warrant of arrest was issued for Russian president Vladimir Putin for alleged war crimes in relation to the war in Ukraine. South Africa is hosting the BRICS Summit next month in Cape Town—and Malema has promised to block any attempts to arrest Putin if he steps on South African soil.
Malema’s comments on South Africa’s alliance with Russia come in the context of a diplomatic stand-off in which United States Ambassador to South Africa Reuben Brigety went public with his allegations that South Africa supplied arms of war to Russia (allegedly loaded onto a Russian vessel that was docked in South Africa) in December 2022.
Malema called for the expulsion of the Ambassador saying that he breached diplomatic protocols—he says the Ambassador was supposed to raise the issue with the South African government instead of going public with it. South Africa has denied the claims that it approved the shipments of weapons to Russia.