Warm handshake as Jacob Zuma meets Malawi president

2013-11-05 10:56

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President Jacob Zuma greeted Malawi President Joyce Banda with a warm handshake and a hug as the two came face to face for the first time since Zuma’s diplomatic faux pas about that country two weeks ago.

Banda, as current chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), shared a stage with Zuma at a joint SADC and International Conference of the Great Lakes region summit on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in Pretoria last night.

Banda graciously thanked South Africans for their warm hospitality on her arrival “in this beautiful city”.

She also complemented the “excellent conferencing facilities” at the department of international relations’ OR Tambo building.

Zuma caused a diplomatic stir when, in an effort to encourage Gauteng residents to pay their e-tolls, he said: “Don’t think like Africans in Africa, generally, we’re in Johannesburg.” He later added that the Gauteng roads were not “some national road in Malawi”.

View: The state of Malawi’s roads

South African diplomats were summoned to apologised, and Deputy International Relations Minister Marius Fransman, while on a visit to Malawi two days after Zuma’s speech, went to see Banda to explain that Zuma meant no harm and to contextualise his remarks.

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