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The Presidency (South Africa) dismisses Putin’s Cape Town arrest

Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni dismisses the Western Cape Premier Alan Winde's recent threat to arrest Vladimir Putin if he ever sets foot in Cape Town, South Africa ahead of August Brics Summit. Fikile Mbalula, Julius Malema, Tito Mboweni and Gayton McKenzie also weigh in on the matter.

Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, joins a string of South African political leaders and other key figures – among them ANC Secretary General Fikile Mbalula, EFF leader Julius Malema and Tito Mboweni – taking a jab at premier’s Alan Winde’s recent threats pertaining to Putin’s expected August visit to the country, with many saying he seems to lack the understanding of what his office entitles him.

Winde on Thursday slammed president Cyril Ramaphosa for inviting Putin to the Brics Summit in South Africa in August despite a warrant for his arrest by the International Criminal Court (ICC), thus promising to arrest the Russian leader if he ever sets foot in the Western Cape. “We as the provincial government will have him arrested by our own @WesternCapeGov funded Law Enforcement Advancement Plan (LEAP) officers.

“If the South African Police Service is not instructed to act, we will,” Winde said in a tweet.

In the official statement sent to media, the Premier further condemned Putin, saying he “has consistently and violently eroded the freedom of the Ukrainian people and those in his own countries who dare take a principled stand against his brutal actions.”

Winde’s comments comes over a month after the ICC issued an arrest warrant, accusing the Russian President of war crimes, notably for illegally deporting hundreds of children from Ukraine during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. There are reasonable grounds, it charged, to believe that Putin bears individual criminal responsibility.

Responding to the news, Russian ex-president Dmitry Medvedev told local media at the time that any attempts to detain Putin “would be a declaration of war on the Russian Federation”.

Medvedev, who serves as the deputy chairman Putin’s powerful security council and is head of the United Russia party further said in a video posted on Telegram: “And in that case, all our assets – all our missiles et cetera – would fly to the Bundestag, to the Chancellor’s office.”

In her response to Winde’s Putin arrest threat, Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni had this to say: “The Western Cape is not an independent Republic of South Africa. The rules that apply in the Western Cape are the rules of this country. And we’re not running a federal government system. We’re running a unitary government system.

“If President Putin is in the country, and he’s protected by the Presidential Protection Service, I don’t know how Premier Winde, who doesn’t even have policing functions, will then get through to the Presidential Protection Service. I am sure you’ve seen the capacity and capabilities of our Presidential Protection service … So Premier Winde can dream about whatever.”

Earlier this month, Ramaphosa, who previously revealed that South Africa wants to pull out of the ICC, said the government was still deliberating on how to best handle Putin’s arrest warrant.

A continental powerhouse, South Africa has refused to condemn the invasion of Ukraine that has largely isolated Moscow on global stage, saying it wants to stay neutral and preferred a dialogue to end the war.

“While we are friends with many all over the world, we cannot become sudden enemies at the demand of others,” Foreign Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor said in March.

On March 17, ICC issued arrest warrants against Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, his commissioner for children’s rights for the war crime of unlawful deportation of children from Ukraine to Russia.
Photo: ICC.

The move has resulted in heavy the criticism for the country from some of its largest trading partners, including the US and the European Union, as well as some of the world’s biggest banks and investment companies.

Mbalula, Malema, Mboweni weigh in on Winde’s Putin arrest threat

Fikile Mbalula

Alan Winde doesn’t have powers to stop anyone coming to this country. The Western Cape is a province not a country under a unitary state – ANC General Secretary Filile Mabalula

Tito Mboweni 

Premier Alan Winde seems not to know the limits of his Provincial powers! What a joke – former SA Finance Minister Tito Mboweni

Brett Herron

“You want to see evidence that @WesternCapeGov & Premier @alanwinde have no understanding of the law or the legal powers of their “LEAP” officers – Learner Law Enforcement Officers – empowered only to enforce Municipal By-Laws, here’s some – Good Party MP Brett Herron said pointing to Winde’s statement.

Julius Malema 

ICC, Putin is welcomed here, and no one is going to arrest Putin. If need be, we will go and fetch Putin from the airport to his meeting. He will address and finish all his meetings, and we will take him back to the airport. We’re not going to be told by this hypocrites of International Criminal Court …. who know the real violators of human rights the murderers of this world – EFF leader Julius Malema

Gayton McKenzie 

We have been told for more than 2 decades that the WC government has no powers to arrest gang members that kill our people. We are shocked, sad and angry to hear that they are ready to arrest President Putin. The deaths of our people mean nothing to this government – Patriotic Alliance leader Gayton McKenzie

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