Zuma cancels United Kingdom trip

2014-10-24 17:39

President Jacob Zuma will not be going to the United Kingdom to attend the 3rd Annual innovaBRICS Conference.

“His Excellency President Jacob Zuma will no longer attend the 3rd Annual innovaBRICS Conference in London, United Kingdom, which takes place on 27 October 2014,” said the presidency today.

“The country and the president will be represented by four ministers.

The delegation will be led by the Minister in the Presidency, Dr Jeff Radebe, and comprises Dr Rob Davies, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Nhlanhla Nene, the Minister of Finance, and Ms Faith Muthambi, the Minister of Communications.”

Zuma’s withdrawal was due to diplomatic reasons, one of which is that he hadn’t set up a meeting with British prime minister David Cameron as required by protocol when visiting another country.

“It wouldn’t look right for the president to go and address a conference without speaking to the prime minister,” a government source said.

“The conference is a private thing organised by business. It was an invite the Presidency thought should be considered positively, but they were advised that it’s a private (and not government) thing, and the Presidency does not need to attend it.”

The United Kingdom is not a member of Brics.

According to the presidency, the country’s international marketing agency, Brand South Africa, has been a lead partner with innovaBRICS, a business networking forum, since its inception in 2012.

The presidency said the forum was an important marketing forum for South Africa and Cabinet ministers to attend sessions on behalf of the country each year.

“South Africa’s participation in the conference will be within the context of promoting the National Development Plan and promoting the country as a prime business destination.

“The ministers will engage with UK business leaders and opinion makers in various forums during the visit,” said the presidency.

  • Additional report by Staff reporter

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