SA delegation welcomes Zuma in Addis Ababa

2015-01-28 18:18

South African government leaders and officials all filed into the plush Sheraton Hotel in Addis Ababa to welcome President Jacob Zuma, who arrived in the city late this afternoon ahead of the 24th African Union summit.

Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and her delegation arrived at the hotel, where rooms can go for upward of R8000 a night. (They are staying at the more modest Radisson Blu Hotel about a kilometre or two from the Sheraton. Room rates for the Radisson start from about R2500 a night.)

The AU assembly of heads of state is only due to take place on Friday and Saturday, but tomorrow the president will have a busy schedule.

Apart from smaller meetings with other heads of state on the sidelines of the official meetings, there are meetings scheduled of the AU’s Peace and Security Council as well as of the African Peer Review Mechanism, both of which Zuma sits on.

Zuma tomorrow is also set to brief the New Partnership for Africa’s Development heads of state summit in his capacity as chairperson of the Presidential Infrastructure Championing Initiative on progress made in championing infrastructure development in Africa.

Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has been in Addis since early this week to attend meetings and to prepare the ground for the South African delegation.

Zuma’s office said the summit was expected to inaugurate the Nelson Mandela plenary hall in the AU headquarters. The hall was named after former SA president Mandela last year following his death a few weeks before the AU summit.

Other ministers expected to attend the AU summit are: Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, Minister (in the Presidency) for Women Susan Shabangu, Minister of Public Service and Administration Collins Chabane, Minister of State Security David Mahlobo, and Deputy Minister of Public Service and Administration Ayanda Dlodlo.

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