Critics Slam South African Leaders Over Hostile Relationship with U.S.

( – The ANC government has issued a stern warning to the United States, cautioning against potential repercussions for actions contrary to American policy positions. South African Minister of International Relations, Naledi Pandor, expressed these concerns in an opinion piece in Britain’s Financial Times, challenging the U.S. stance and suggesting that punitive measures from Washington could amount to self-sabotage.

Pandor emphasized Pretoria’s pivotal role in shaping and implementing the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), the largest single free trade area globally, encompassing 1.3 billion people and boasting a combined GDP of $3.4 trillion. She urged the U.S. to recognize the economic opportunities presented by AfCFTA and to engage with South Africa as a gateway to the continent.

Highlighting the interdependence between the two nations, Pandor pointed out that the U.S. relies heavily on South Africa for precious minerals essential for manufacturing various goods.

However, reactions to Pandor’s remarks have been mixed. Political experts, such as Greg Mills from the Brenthurst Foundation think-tank, criticized the minister’s stance as arrogant and naive, warning that it could antagonize Washington. Mills highlighted the misconception that South Africa serves as the continent’s gateway, pointing to other African nations with higher economic growth rates.

Moreover, historical parallels were drawn, recalling President Ronald Reagan’s implementation of economic sanctions against apartheid South Africa in the 1980s. Mills suggested that South Africa’s alignment with authoritarian regimes and terrorist groups, coupled with its deteriorating relations with Western democracies, could have far-reaching consequences.

The tension between Pretoria and Washington intensified with the introduction of House Resolution 145 in Congress, calling for a review of the bilateral relationship. Lawmakers expressed concerns over South Africa’s military cooperation with Russia and China, as well as its alignment with these nations in key U.N. votes.

Additionally, there are reservations regarding South Africa’s handling of issues such as human rights and democratic principles, particularly its close ties with regimes known for their suppression of free expression and individual rights.

Despite these challenges, South Africa remains a significant trading partner for the U.S., with bilateral trade valued at billions of dollars annually and substantial foreign direct investment flowing between the two nations.

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