Last night, the City of Cape Town made its solidarity with Ukraine crystal clear. So clear in fact, it could be seen from quite some distance away, in blue and yellow illuminations. However, despite the Mother City agreeing with the UN resolution opting for Russia to cease the invasion, South Africa at an international level abstained from voting in agreement.
In showcasing solidarity with both the vote and Ukraine, City Hall became an illuminated version of the Ukrainian flag – A directive endorsed by Cape Town’s mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.
While the display took to call for a ceasefire and withdrawal of the Russian troops in Ukraine under Putin, it also took a few jabs at the National Government.
“While national government refuses to condemn this illegal war, Cape Town has chosen to stand for peace,” wrote Hill-Lewis.
The resolution vote
The illumination formed part of a (mostly) global mobilisation made up of various governments, or an “unprecedented show of global unity” as Hill-Lewis put it. The display followed a UN member’s vote condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine, undertaken by most states at UN General Assembly on Wednesday.
However, there were those who abstained from voting. 141 of the 193 member states voted for the non-binding resolution, five voted against it and 35 abstained, as per The Diplomat.
South Africa was part of the group that abstained.
Quiet diplomacy in a time like this?
This move comes despite numerous South Africans beyond their diplomatic representatives, opting for Russian troops to leave Ukraine. Local academics, clerics and civil society leaders introduced a petition that expressed “if Russia desires congenial relations with South Africa, it must cease the pursuance of a violent overthrow of its neighbour” as Daily Maverick reports.
Another petition created by Azanian People’s Organisation (AZAPO), addressed to Minister Naledi Pandor of DIRCO’s calls for South Africa not to get involved and positioned around the safety of South Africans in Ukraine. It currently has 35 000 signatures.
SA backs its position:
Mathu Joyini, South Africa’s ambassador to the UN explained South Africa’s position as one that wants a peaceful resolution, but that the current resolution “does not create an environment conducive for diplomacy, dialogue, and mediation.”
Picture: City of Cape Town