(1) On the 11th May 2023, US Ambassador Reuben E. Brigety convened a press conference and levelled allegations regarding weapons and ammunition being loaded onto US sanctioned Russian cargo vessel Lady R during the docking of Lady R in Simon’s Town in December 2022.
As stated in many previous public statements and I reiterate that nothing was loaded onto Lady R, but rather, Lady R was delivering equipment that was ordered by SANDF pre –Covid in 2018/19.
Due to the serious nature of these allegations, the extent of public interest and the negative implications for South Africa’s international standing, the President of the Republic of South Africa, H.E. Cyril Ramaphosa announced the establishment of an independent inquiry into the circumstance of the docking of Lady R in Simon’s Town.
Through this inquiry, Government seeks to investigate and establish all the facts that led to docking of Lady R in Simons Town.
The Department of Defence welcomed the President’s decision to institute the investigation as it would offer the department an opportunity to ventilate its side of the story with concrete evidence and to address any unwanted allegations.
It is therefore prudent that the panel be granted space and time to finilize its investigation and to bring this matter to its ultimate conclusion within its mandate.