Brigety’s head on the block over Lady R blunder

Luthuli House has called for consequences against US ambassador Reuben Brigety for his stunt on South African weapons he claimed without evidence were sold to Russia.

In government, insiders this week confirmed there was an “aggressive push” to expel Brigety from the country. Until now, Pretoria has only censured him severely.

On Friday, Mbalula said: “Of course, we support the fact that there must be consequences for Brigety, but our government is dealing with the matter.”

Alternatively, Mbalula anticipates that Washington may take steps to recall the errant diplomat. “We do not condone his actions and believe he should face the consequences,” the ANC boss said.

He said the ANC was hoping for a resolution that would benefit all parties involved.

President Cyril Ramaphosa established a three-member independent panel under a retired judge to investigate Brigety’s claims. But Brigety and his local collaborators, the DA, failed to provide the commission with any evidence.

However, his allegations caused a geopolitical and diplomatic stir when he claimed, without a shred of evidence, that South Africa had armed Russia in its fight with Ukraine. This was despite SA’s non-alignment stance in the ongoing conflict.

After Brigety spewed his bile during a media briefing, the rand plummeted to over R19 to the US dollar for the first time in 22 years.

Ramaphosa is now in possession of the report of inquiry into Brigety’s allegations. The report will remain confidential.

Asked whether the push for Brigety’s expulsion was gaining traction within the government, Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni referred questions to the international relations department.

Questions sent to Department of International Relations and Cooperation spokesperson Clayson Monyela went unanswered.

Last month, Sunday World exclusively revealed that the Russian vessel Lady R, which docked at Simon’s Town in Cape Town, did so to deliver high-calibre weapons to South Africa.

The country procured the weaponry for its law enforcement agencies to combat rampant organised crime.

Investigations revealed that the government procured the weapons before the Covid-19 outbreak to match the gangs’ firepower, pound for pound. The state needed to purchase heavy weaponry, which law enforcement agencies did not have.

Sunday World has been informed that the details of the weapons are to be kept top secret. Our investigations revealed the classified transaction was supposed to be concluded without a fuss.

But delays allegedly occurred when the SA Revenue Service got involved in the processing of the goods aboard before they could be offloaded.

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