The South African government has confirmed that it will not withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC), contrary to earlier statements made by President Cyril Ramaphosa. The President’s office cited a communication error from the ruling ANC party, which confused the country’s stance on the ICC. The presidency clarified that South Africa remains a signatory to the Rome Statute, which established the ICC.
African Insider reports that earlier on Tuesday, Ramaphosa had announced that the ANC party had resolved to withdraw South Africa from the ICC. The ICC’s recent arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly prompted the decision, as it would have required South Africa to detain Putin during the bloc summit for Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa hosted by South Africa this year.
Ramaphosa reiterated the ANC’s position during a joint media conference with the visiting President of Finland, Sauli Niinisto. However, the President’s statement was later clarified, stating that the ANC had made an error in its communication. The ANC had discussed the issue of South Africa withdrawing from the ICC during a National Executive Council Meeting, where the Secretary-General, Fikile Mbalula, stated that the ICC serves the interest of a few and not all.
The presidency expressed regret that the President had “erroneously affirmed a similar position” in the media briefing.