As a signatory to the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court, South Africa is obliged to arrest Putin on an indictment the court issued against the Russian leader in March for war crimes involving the abduction of children from Ukraine.
Having already decided not to condemn Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, South Africa faces the prospect of further straining relations with the West if it allows Putin to freely attend the summit of the BRICS emerging economies bloc of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Putin hasn't yet traveled to a country that is a signatory to the court treaty since the arrest warrant against him was issued.
But Russia does want Putin to attend alongside Chinese leader Xi Jinping and the other presidents, South Africa Deputy President Paul Mashatile said in the interview with News24, a top South African news outlet.
All the leaders were invited to the summit before the indictment against Putin was issued, South Africa has said.
Ramaphosa will now attempt to convince Putin not to travel to South Africa when they meet at the Russia-Africa summit in St. Petersburg at the end of this month, Mashatile said.
South Africa has history on the issue after failing in 2015 to arrest then-Sudan President Omar al-Bashir on a visit to South Africa when he was wanted by the ICC tribunal for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. »