The South African presidency on Thursday confirmed that President Cyril Ramaphosa will not be attending the African Leaders Summit to be hosted by US President Joe Biden.
The Summit is scheduled to take place in Washington DC from December 13-15.
This was confirmed to by the President’s spokesperson Vincent Magwenya.
Magwenya did not divulge reasons as to why Ramaphosa would no longer be attending the Summit as he was initially scheduled to travel to the US with other African leaders.
It is not yet clear who will attend the Summit on Ramaphosa’s behalf as the President remains behind to deal with domestic issues.
The decision also comes directly after an independent panel chaired by retired Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo recently found that Ramaphosa has a case to answer in relation to the Phala Phala Farmgate scandal.
Ramaphosa admitted to the panel that he had failed to report the crime to police after millions ($4 million) in foreign currency, hidden in his sofas, was stolen.
In the report released last week Wednesday, the report found that Ramaphosa violated a number of laws.
Parliament was due to hold a debate on the Section 89 report this past Tuesday but that session was postponed to December 13 – the same time Ramaphosa was scheduled to be in the US.
“The National Assembly Programming Committee has, during its urgent meeting convened on Monday evening, resolved to defer the consideration of the Section 89 panel report to Tuesday December 13 at 14h00,” spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said in a statement.
“The December 13 meeting will be fully physical, with no provision for virtual participation. The NA (National Assembly) secretariat was tasked to secure a suitable venue that will accommodate all members.
“The meeting further resolved that the voting method on the report will be by means of an open ballot and a roll call.
“The NA will still convene on Tuesday to deal with the other matters on the Order Paper, including the Children’s Amendment Bill and farewell speeches. The report of the Rules Committee will also be considered,” Mothapo said.
US says African Leaders Summit aims to strengthen ties with the continent
In a digital press briefing with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the US Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs, Robert Scott and Special Assistant to the President and National Security Council Senior Advisor for the US-Africa Leaders Summit, Dana Banks this week discussed the upcoming US-Africa Leaders Summit’s agenda to strengthen U.-Africa relations and highlighted the US commitment to the African continent.
Banks said that President Biden has invited 49 African heads of state and the head of the AU to Washington for a three-day summit to highlight how the US and African nations are strengthening their partnerships to advance their shared priorities.
“The summit reflects the US strategy towards Sub-Saharan Africa, which really emphasises the critical importance of the region in meeting this era’s defining challenges.”
African countries barred from US-Africa Leaders Summit
Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea and Sudan have been barred by president Biden from attending the African Leaders Summit, citing political instability as a result of recent coups in these countries.
According to the White House National Security Council, the four African countries have been suspended by the African Union (AU) due to coups d’etat staged.
“Currently four countries – Burkina Faso, Guinea, Sudan and Mali – are suspended by the AU and were not invited,” a US official who revealed this told journalists.