South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, once again reiterated her stance against the United States’ “Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa” Bill. Pandor’s desire is that the Anti-Russia bill is set aside. Minister Pandor stood by this assertion during a wide-ranging interview with Russian news publication Sputnik, published on January 18th. The Anti-Russia bill would allow the U.S. to monitor Russia’s operations and dealings in Africa. Pandor said such a bill would be against international law if it were to be signed into law.
Criticism of The Anti-Russia Bill
“I think it’s an intrusion that goes against international law,” she said. She said her country had made this abundantly clear to their U.S. counterparts. “We even met with the drafter of the initial legislation and indicated the offense which we view with this particular proposed piece of legislation,” she said. Pandor indicated that South Africa would continue fighting against the Anti-Russia bill. South Africa has consistently spoken out against the Anti-Russia bill, with President Cyril Ramaphosa saying, “I think it will harm Africa and marginalize the continent.”
“As a sovereign country that pursues an independent foreign policy, the bill seems to punish those who hold independent views. It is disappointing that this bill has been crafted at a time when President Biden has sought to engage African countries on the basis of respect for their independence and sovereignty,” Ramaphosa said.
The Southern African Development Community criticized the law as well, claiming it will make Africa “the target of unilateral and punitive measures.”
Contents of The Anti-Russia Bill
The Anti-Russia bill will allow the U.S. to look at the relationships between Russia and African countries and assess the influence the former has. The U.S. can then punish the African countries it feels assist Russian malign activities. While the Anti-Russia bill was introduced into the House of Representatives in March 2022 and passed a month later, it has not been signed into law. Hearings for the Anti-Russia bill are yet to be held. Many see the Anti-Russia bill as another example of the U.S. overstepping its boundaries and disregarding the sovereignty of African countries.