South Africa snubs anti-Russia sanctions
South Africa has no intention of enforcing Western sanctions against Russian businessman Alexey Mordashov, meaning his $500 million megayacht may enter local ports, the spokesman for President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters, Vincent Magwenya, the spokesman for the South African leader, noted that Pretoria “has no legal obligation to abide by sanctions imposed by the US and EU,” adding that the nation’s authorities adhere to UN sanctions. However, referring to the Russian tycoon, Magwenya added that “currently there are no UN-imposed sanctions on the particular individual.”
South Africa therefore “has no reason to prevent” the vessel’s entry into its ports, he said.
Mordashov, who has a net worth of $18.3 billion, is the majority shareholder in steel major Severstal. The EU, UK, and US imposed sanctions on the company following the start of the Russian military campaign in Ukraine in late February.
Meanwhile, his luxury 142-meter yacht, the 'Nord', last week departed Hong Kong, which also refuses to enforce Western sanctions. It is now en route to the South African port of Cape Town, where it is expected to arrive on November 9.
South Africa has refused to join Western sanctions against Russia triggered by the conflict in Ukraine, with its president arguing in late May that the restrictions would hurt “bystander countries.”
Russia and South Africa have warm ties that date back to the 1960s, when the Soviet Union supported anti-apartheid freedom fighters. Moreover, South Africa is a member of BRICS, an international socio-economic and political forum that also includes Brazil, Russia, India and China, with more countries seeking to join. The bloc already accounts for over 40% of the global population and nearly a quarter of the world’s GDP.