President Jacob Zuma has cancelled his trip to the UK because he was refused an audience with British Prime Minister David Cameron, City Press reported on Sunday.
This was according to unnamed officials in London with knowledge of the planned visit.
Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj told the newspaper that Zuma had to cancel the trip to attend a high-level gathering because his diary had been rescheduled.
“The president’s diary is subject to change at all times according to requirements,” he said.
Zuma was offered instead a meeting with Cameron’s deputy, Nick Clegg, which he refused.
This is the second time this year that Zuma has cancelled a visit to the UK at short notice.
In February, he was to have attended an official memorial service for former president Nelson Mandela at Westminster Abbey, but cancelled this engagement and went to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s daughter’s wedding instead.
The presidency announced on Friday that Zuma would not be going to London to attend the third annual innovaBRICS conference. Maharaj said the country and the president would be represented by four ministers.
Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe would lead the delegation, accompanied by Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies, Minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene and Communications Minister Faith Muthambi.
According to the presidency, the country’s international marketing agency, Brand SA, had been a lead partner with innovaBRICS, a business networking forum, since its inception in 2012. – Sapa