President Jacob Zuma concludes State Visit to the United Kingdom, 5 March 2010
President Jacob Zuma has today (5 March 2010) concluded a three-day state visit to the United Kingdom with an address to the SA-UK Business Seminar. The South African business delegation, with more than 200 business leaders, is the largest business delegation on such a visit.
This underlines the importance of trade and investment ties between the two countries, and indicates the amount of interest among both British and South African companies in exploring opportunities for cooperation.
President Zuma began the final day of the visit with a meeting with Lord Mandelson, the UK Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills. He then had a breakfast meeting at Buckingham Palace with South African and British industry leaders.
As he left for his other morning engagements, Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh bid him and his delegation farewell at the Grand Entrance to Buckingham Palace.
President Zuma concluded the formal part of the state visit with a roundtable discussion hosted by the Prince of Wales at Clarence House. The discussion included representatives of various organisations supported by the Prince. Among the themes discussed were climate change, the built environment, and youth employment. The roundtable highlighted the fact that many of the issues championed by the Prince of Wales are relevant to South Africa, and form part of the programme of government.
While the President was undertaking these meetings, Mrs Tobeka Madiba-Zuma visited Hammersmith Hospital in west London where she received a presentation on modern techniques in radiotherapy for cervical cancer, and met three radiotherapy patients. Mrs Zuma has also visited health facilities in South Africa, where she has promoted efforts to prevent and treat cervical cancer.
On the second day of his visit yesterday (Thursday 4 March), President Zuma met with UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown at 10 Downing Street. They discussed bilateral relations between the two countries and broader international issues such as the situation in Zimbabwe, climate change, and the global education for all campaign.
A visit to a “green” supermarket also formed part of President Zuma’s activities yesterday. The Sainsbury’s supermarket in Greenwich is the world’s first green supermarket in that it is completely carbon neutral through the recycling of energy and waste materials. Sainsbury’s is working with the international agri-technology centre to set up an academy in South Africa to assist suppliers and producers in Africa to develop sustainable production systems and businesses.
The President then took a tour of the Olympic Park site in Stratford, east London. Accompanying him were the Chairman of the London 2012 Organising Committee Sebastian Coe, Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell, Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority John Armitt. President Zuma congratulated London on the impressive preparations it had already made for hosting the 2012 Olympics.
President Zuma also visited the Lewisham Borough Council, which has a partnership with the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality in Gauteng. The Lewisham community played an active role in the anti-apartheid struggle. He was given a briefing on how this multi-cultural London borough tackles issues such as youth development, unemployment and racism.
President Zuma was also invited to address parliamentarians at the Houses of Parliament. In a keynote address to MPs and invited guests, President Zuma discussed developments in South Africa over the last 16 years and its efforts to tackle current challenges. He also discussed international issues on which South Africa and the United Kingdom have been cooperating, including African development, climate change, and the reform of multilateral institutions. Responding to the address, the Lord Speaker of the House of Lords, Baroness Hayman, said that the challenges of the 21st century called for countries like the United Kingdom and South Africa to work together on issues of common interest and concern.
President Zuma concluded the activities of the second day by scoring a penalty at Wembley Stadium. During a press conference attended by 2010 Local Organising Committee CEO Danny Jordaan and Bafana Bafana captain Aaron Mokoena, President Zuma assured the media that South Africa was ready to host a successful and secure World Cup. “When we say that we are ready we mean with security matters as well. We have reduced crime in South Africa and have plans to tackle crime during the World Cup,” President Zuma said.
In the evening, the President attended a banquet at Guildhall hosted by the Lord Mayor of London. Among the issues covered in his address at the banquet were the opportunities in South Africa for investors. “We are saying South Africa is open for business in a big way,” he said.
President Zuma is scheduled to attend a meeting at South Africa House this afternoon, where he will interact with non-governmental organisations active in South Africa.
President Zuma hailed the state visit as a great success. “It has shown that ties between South Africa and the UK are getting even stronger. While we have had excellent relations in the past, the greatest opportunities for cooperation still lie ahead,” he said.
Enquiries: Vincent Magwenya +2772 715 0024
ISSUED BY THE PRESIDENCY
SOUTH AFRICAN HIGH COMMISSION
5 MARCH 2010