An independent inquiry has found no evidence that South Africa supplied weapons to Russia, President Cyril Ramaphosa has said.

The panel rejected claims made by the US ambassador to South Africa that a Russian ship was loaded with ammunition and arms in Cape Town last December.

The allegations had raised questions over the country’s professed neutrality in the war with Ukraine.

Mr Ramaphosa said it had damaged the nation’s currency and reputation.

“The panel found that there was no evidence to support the claim that the ship transported weapons from South Africa destined for Russia,” the president said in a televised address to the nation on Sunday.

“No permit was issued for the export of arms and no arms were exported.”

A spokesperson for the US embassy in Pretoria said the US appreciated the seriousness with which South Africa had investigated the claims but declined to comment on the report’s contents.