South Africa is edging ever closer to ethical and legal fallout by continuing to supply weapons to Saudi Arabia and the UAE (United Arab Emirates).

These weapons, which have been proven to emanate from South African manufacturers, are being used in the war on Yemen. This conflict, which was spearheaded by Saudi Arabia in 2015, has resulted in mass civilian casualties and a humanitarian disaster, which has been labelled by some news agencies as the worst of its kind in recent history.

This puts South Africa, and the ruling ANC (African National Congress), in an ethical and legal quagmire, making it potentially complicit in war crimes.

It was also reported that Denel, South Arica’s state owned weapons manufacturer, was approached by Saudi Arabia in 2016, with an offer to work on an armed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) programme. According to the Middle East Eye report, which was penned by journalist Zeenat Adam, Denel agreed to work on the controversial programme.

As part of his foreign investment drive, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa recently visited Saudi Arabia and the UAE – securing $20 billion in loans for local development. Commenting on his successful visit to the UAE, Ramaphosa said:

“I am delighted to have come here, because this forms a very firm foundation for our relationship. We are here to form a strong relationship between SA and UAE and a bridge of partnership.”