South Africa 21.10.2018 11:48 am

Ramaphosa cancels Saudi trip amid outcry over murdered journalist

President Cyril Ramaphosa arriving at the Royal Court in Jeddah, for the Welcome Ceremony during his State Visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 12 July 2018. Picture: GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa arriving at the Royal Court in Jeddah, for the Welcome Ceremony during his State Visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 12 July 2018. Picture: GCIS

The killing of Saudi journalist Khashoggi presents a challenge for Ramaphosa, who was recently promised R10 billion in investment by the country.

State security minister Dipuo Letsatsi will no longer be travelling to Dubai to meet with the Saudi Arabian head of intelligence, after president Cyril Ramaphosa pulled the plug on the trip following questions from The Sunday Times.

The newspaper reports that Ramaphosa may have been unaware of the trip prior to the questions being sent.

The recent brutal killing of journalist Jama Khashoggi has seen many country’s express outrage, but our own reaction has been muted, with a statement expressing “concern” but stopping short of condemnation.

Saudi Arabia recently committed to investing $10 billion in South Africa. They also buy weapons from SA on a large scale, and we are estimated to send R4.4 billion in exports to the country annually.

READ MORE: Saudi Arabia admits Khashoggi died, Trump clings to their explanation of how

Turkish officials have said they believe Khashoggi – a contributor to the Washington Post who has on occasion penned articles critical of Mohammed bin Salman – was killed inside the consulate. Saudi Arabia initially strongly denied this but has since claimed that he died during a “brawl” at the Saudi consulate in Turkey.

The death of Khashoggi has evoked widespread condemnation from governments and has seen many world leaders, multinational companies and foreign media operations pull out of the upcoming Future of Investment conference the country is hosting.

Saudi Arabia on Saturday admitted that Khashoggi died inside its Istanbul consulate after an altercation, an explanation that US president Donald Trump said he found credible, but failed to convince top US lawmakers.

The kingdom announced the arrest of 18 Saudis in connection with their probe and the sacking of two top officials linked to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has faced mounting pressure over the journalist’s disappearance.

Khashoggi, a critic of the Islamic petro-state’s powerful crown prince and a Washington Post contributor, was last seen on October 2 entering his country’s consulate in Istanbul.

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.

 

01

today in print