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DA victorious as Government Commits to Arrest Putin if He Enters SA




The South African government has acknowledged its failure to fulfil its international responsibilities by neglecting to issue an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin when he enters the country.

On Friday, the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria confirmed that the justice department finally forwarded the Putin arrest warrant to National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Shamila Batohi on Monday as reported by News 24.

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This action came after more than two months since the international relations and co-operation Department shared the warrant from the International Criminal Court (ICC) with their justice colleagues. The ICC had issued the warrant based on Putin’s alleged responsibility for war crimes during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The DA took legal action, urging the government to arrest Putin if he visited South Africa for the BRICS summit scheduled in Johannesburg in August.


However, following the government’s announcement that Putin would not be travelling to South Africa, the DA requested the court to compel the government to execute the arrest warrant whenever the Russian president enters the country.

In an affidavit on Thursday, justice department director-general Doctor Mashabane admitted that he was “obliged” to promptly forward the arrest warrant to Batohi as per South Africa’s Implementation Act. Nonetheless, Mashabane cited his desire to consult with the ICC for not fulfilling that obligation immediately.

This consultation took place on 8 June.

Mashabane stated:

“On 29 June 2023, I signed and authorised the dispatch of the letter to the NDPP…in which I transmitted the ICC’s requests for co-operation to the NDPP.”


The court order specified that the justice department would cover the applicant’s costs, including the costs of two counsels and all previously reserved costs.

In response to the court order, DA leader John Steenhuisen claimed victory, asserting that Mashabane only sent the ICC’s documents to Batohi on Monday due to the pressure exerted by the application.

Steenhuisen stated:

“Despite President Cyril Ramaphosa’s best efforts to shield Putin from accountability for his alleged war crimes – including through his absurd claim that the South African Constitution somehow prohibited him from complying with the ICC directive – it is now clear that the DA’s commitment to justice and the rule of law has been completely vindicated. The justice department’s request for Batohi to issue a warrant of arrest for Putin directly contradicts Ramaphosa and confirms the DA’s stance that this was always the only correct course of action.”

Ramaphosa also filed papers in the court challenge detailing South Africa’s urgent negotiations with BRICS member countries to prevent Putin from attending the summit.


In an affidavit, Ramaphosa revealed that he initially asked Putin not to participate in Africa’s Ukraine-Russia peace summit on 19 June, to which the Russian leader responded that he would consider the request.

Three days later, Ramaphosa met with Brazil President Lula da Silva at the Global Financing Pact summit in Paris, France, and advocated South Africa’s position that Putin should not attend the BRICS summit, set to take place from 22 to 24 August.

Ramaphosa stated:

“At this meeting [with Da Silva], the president of Brazil agreed that the preferred option, being that President Putin would not attend the [BRICS] summit in person, had his support.”

Following consultations with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, the Presidency announced on Wednesday that Putin would not attend the summit by “mutual agreement.”


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