Wednesday May 19, 2021
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa tells FRANCE 24 that the situation in Gaza reminds him of the apartheid era in his own country, with Israeli actions against the Palestinians evocative of an apartheid state. He said South Africa stands by the Palestinians but urged both sides to sit down and negotiate as was done in South Africa in the early 1990s.
Ramaphosa also hailed the outcome of the African financing summit in Paris on Tuesday, stressing that rich countries had been urged to share their surpluses of Covid-19 vaccines with developing countries. He lashed out at what he called the “vaccine imperialism“ currently at work, warning that the only way to vanquish the pandemic was to deal with it globally.
He went on to say that waiving the intellectual property rights on Covid-19 vaccines would help boost manufacturing capabilities on the continent and acknowledged that authorities are closely monitoring the advent of a third wave of Covid-19, adding that new restrictions would be put in place if need be.
Ramaphosa said a forthcoming state visit to South Africa by French President Emmanuel Macron would likely include deals in both business and the health sector.
As South Africa’s former president Jacob Zuma faces corruption charges, Ramaphosa vowed that he would have a fair trial. He brushed aside Zuma’s claim that the trial was a political witch hunt and said that he would soon appear before a commission of inquiry looking into the so-called state capture scandal.
Ramaphosa also discussed reports of tensions between him and the African National Congress party’s Secretary General Ace Magashule, saying proceedings were under way to resolve disputes within the party and that "the ANC would come out stronger".