Ramaphosa appoints panel to report on US Ambassador allegations

South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has appointed a three person panel to look into allegations by US Ambassador, Reuben Brigety, that South Africa supplied weapons to a Russian ship, Lady R, that docked at Simon’s Town from 6 December to 9 December 2022.

The panel is chaired by Judge Phineas Mathale Deon Majapelo and has Adv Leah Gcabashe and Enver Surry as the other two members.

Please see the video of the Russian ship, Lady R at the Simon’s Town Naval base below. 

The US sanctioned Russian cargo ship had its automatic identification system (AIS) – which provides the ship’s position, identification and other information to other vessels and coastal authorities – switched off during the time when it was docked at the Naval base.

Several Simon’s Town residents observed and photographed cranes moving at least six containers between trucks and the Lady R.

“Trucks were parked at a local sports ground during the day, and were heavily armed and guarded”

It was alleged that the weapons were supplied to the Russians by Armscor, the arms procurement agency of the South African Department of Defence.

The panel is expected to finalise its investigations within 6 weeks and submit its report to Ramaphosa by the end of July 2022.

However, the panel can request an extension if more time is required to complete the investigation.