The Russian consulate in Cape Town tweeted a photo of the ship "Admiral Gorshkov" in the city's harbour

President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed a panel of three members to investigate the docking of the Russian vessel named Lady R in Simonstown, Western Cape.

The panel of three members includes Judge Phineas Mojapelo, Advocate Leah Gcabashe SC and former Deputy Minister of Basic Education of the Government of South Africa, Enver Surty.

President Ramaphosa announced on Sunday that "through this inquiry, the government seeks to establish the circumstances that led to the docking of the ship and the alleged loading of cargo, and the departure of the Lady R cargo ship from Simonstown, during the period from 6 to 9 December 2022," SANews reported.

The statement mentioned that the decision to establish an enquiry had been taken due to the "seriousness of the allegations" made by the U.S., claiming that South Africa supplied weapons to Russia in order to support the country against Ukraine.

Since the conflict began, South Africa has taken a neutral stance. However, after the U.S. allegation over the weapons on the country, its currency value of the rand decreased.

Considering the impact of this matter on South Africa's international relations, the country has established a panel of three members. The panel will "establish persons who were aware of the cargo ship's arrival, and, if any, the contents to be off-loaded or loaded, the departure and destination of the cargo."

The statement further explained that the investigation will "evaluate whether constitutional, legal or other obligations were complied with in relation to the cargo ship's arrival, its stay, the loading or off-loading of its contents, and its departure."

If any breaches may occur, then the panel's report will also mention recommended steps to be taken.

"The panel will report directly to the President and will be supported administratively by personnel in the Presidency assigned to this task by the Director-General in the Presidency," it stated.

Within six weeks, the panel is supposed to finalize its investigation and is expected to submit the report within two weeks to the President. "The panel may request an extension of this time frame should it be necessary," it concluded.

President Ramaphosa made an announcement on May 11 that there will be a panel to investigate the claims made by the U.S.

South Africa has previously turned down the allegations of supplying arms to Russia and noted that the Russia-Ukraine conflict must be resolved by negotiation and peaceful means.

President Ramaphosa mentioned in his weekly newsletter on May 15 that as a country, South Africa is "committed to the articles of the United Nations Charter, including the principle that all members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means."