Draft US Congress resolution on SA's ties with Russia and China

Resolution HR145 calls on Biden administration to place policy towards SA under review

H. RES. 145

Opposing the Republic of South Africa’s hosting of military exercises with the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation, and calling on the Biden administration to conduct a thorough review of the United States-South Africa relationship.


February 21, 2023

Mr. JAMES (for himself, Mr. SMITH of New Jersey, Mr. KEAN of New Jersey, Mr. MILLS, Mr. BAIRD, and Mrs. KIM of California) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Af- fairs


Opposing the Republic of South Africa’s hosting of military exercises with the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation, and calling on the Biden administration to conduct a thorough review of the United States- South Africa relationship.

Whereas the United States and the Republic of South Africa have enjoyed strong bilateral relations since 1994;

Whereas the holding of elections with universal suffrage in 1994 marked the effective ending of apartheid in South Africa, the codified, State-enforced system of racial segregation and socioeconomic discrimination;

Whereas South Africa is the United States largest trade partner in Africa, with $21,000,000,000 of 2-way goods trade in 2021, and in 2012, the countries signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement facilitating 2-way trade;

Whereas the United States is the largest source of foreign direct investment in South Africa, valued at over $7,500,000,000 in 2021, and approximately 600 American businesses operate in South Africa;

Whereas South Africa’s media landscape has proven resilient to the influence of media entities controlled by the Peo- ple’s Republic of China (PRC);

Whereas South Africa has benefitted from the U.S. Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance pro- gram since 2006;

Whereas the United States and South African militaries have historically undertaken joint military exercises and en- joyed good relations, including South Africa hosting American troops for Exercise ‘‘Shared Accord’’ in 2022, the fourth time they have hosted this exercise since 2011, through historic Department of Defense participation in South Africa’s biennial African Aerospace Defense Exhibition, and through the periodic convening of the bilateral U.S.-South Africa Defense Committee;

Whereas South Africa declined to participate in the planned ‘‘Cutlass Express’’ military exercises with the United States in 2023;

Whereas South Africa often voted in alignment with the PRC within the United Nations General Assembly in 2022, es- pecially in relation to votes condemning Russia’s unjusti- fied and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine;

Whereas South Africa reneged on its initial call for the Russian Federation to immediately withdraw its forces from Ukraine and has actively sought improved relations with Moscow in the last year;

Whereas South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) engage in consistent interparty cooperation in spite of South Africa’s Constitution being opposed to the CCP’s routine suppression of free expression and indi- vidual rights;

Whereas the ‘‘United Front’’ work of the CCP has established at least 3 ‘‘overseas police stations’’ in South Africa, and these police stations, both in South Africa and in many other countries, are reportedly being used to track and harass PRC dissidents;

Whereas South Africa hosts 6 Confucius Institutes, the most of any country in Africa, and cooperates with the PRC under the CCP’s Belt and Road Initiative;

Whereas, in 2020, South Africa and the PRC established a joint bilateral ‘‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’’, and maintain numerous prior and subsequent agree- ments, memorandums of understanding, and similar ac- cords;

Whereas South Africa is the PRC’s largest trading partner in Africa, with total trade valued at $54,000,000,000 in 2021, and has accepted $5,000,000,000 in PRC-provided power and transportation sector loans since 2015;

Whereas South Africa is scheduled to hold the 15th leaders’ meeting of the informal Brazil, Russia, India, China grouping (BRICS) in August 2023;

Whereas the increased Chinese presence in South Africa’s technology sector has raised concerns that the ANC may be trying to copy the PRC’s model of digitally aided au- thoritarian governance underpinned by cyber controls, so- cial monitoring, and surveillance;

Whereas Vumacam, a South African company building a nationwide CCTV network, has partnered with Chinese company Hikvision for the cameras’ hardware, and Telkom, South Africa’s partially State-owned telecoms operator, launched its 5G network throughout the coun- try in October 2022 using technology from Huawei Tech- nologies;

Whereas the ANC has proved incapable of providing electricity to the South African people, through its chronic mismanagement of the State-owned power company Eskom, and on February 9, 2023, President of South Af- rica Cyril Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster over the worsening, multiyear power crisis;

Whereas South Africa will host joint maritime exercises, entitled ‘‘Operation Mosi II’’, jointly with the PRC and Rus- sia, between February 17 and 24, 2023, and the latter date corresponds to the 1-year anniversary of Russia’s unjustified and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine;

Whereas South Africa has used its stated stance of nonalignment in international affairs to justify increasingly close relations with the PRC and Russia;

Whereas United States policy towards South Africa appears to have failed in building a strong, reliable bilateral part- ner; and

Whereas it is in the national security interest of the United States to deter acceptance, cooperation, and strategic information sharing with the PRC and Russia: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) opposes South Africa’s decision to host military exercises with the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation from February 17 to February 24, 2023;

(2) calls on the Government of South Africa to—

(A) cancel all future military exercises with the People’s Republic of China and Russia and rejoin United States-led exercises, such as the ‘‘Cutlass Express’’;

(B) respect the United Nations charter and publicly oppose Russia’s unjustified and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine;

(C) strengthen its political resilience to reject the Chinese Communist Party’s authoritarian vision for South Africa; and

(D) maintain its national sovereignty by reducing its reliance on Chinese companies in key sectors such as information and communication technology;

(3) calls on the Biden administration to conduct a thorough review of the current and future status of the United States-South Africa bilateral relationship in light of the aforementioned actions of the Government of South Africa; and

(4) calls on the United States Government to keep Congress apprised by providing regular and comprehensive  briefings on subjects relating to South Africa including—

(A)  a complete account of all known United States-sanctioned entities and transnational criminal organizations’ connections to illicit proceeds linked to wildlife trafficking;

(B) a detailed account of positive economic results stemming from South Africa’s inclusion in the African Growth and Opportunity Act and the United States-South Africa Trade and Investment Framework signed in 2012; and

(C) a timeline to end the Biden administration’s climate colonialism by including gas-to-power initiatives to counter the widespread and nationwide blackouts costing the South African economy an estimated $200,000,000 per day.