Zuma denies cancelling UK trip over Cameron snub
The presidency has denied reports that President Jacob Zuma cancelled his trip to the UK because he was refused an audience with the British prime minister.
“The reports suggesting that president Zuma cancelled the visit because he was refused an audience with British Prime Minister David Cameron are incorrect and mischievous,” said spokesperson Mac Maharaj on Sunday.
He said it was not compulsory for Zuma to meet Cameron.
City Press reported on Sunday that Zuma had pulled out of the third annual innovaBRICS conference because he was refused an audience with Cameron. Zuma was offered a meeting with Cameron’s deputy, Nick Clegg, which he refused. This was according to unnamed officials in London who had knowledge of the planned visit.
Maharaj told the newspaper that Zuma had to cancel his trip because his diary had been rescheduled.
The presidency announced on Friday that Zuma would not be going to London to attend the conference and that he would be represented by four of his ministers instead.
Maharaj said on Sunday that the purpose of the visit to London was to open the innovaBRICS conference and promote South Africa as an investment destination.
It was not a South Africa-UK bilateral visit which required engagements at government level, he said.
“The London visit by ministers is designed to send the message that South Africa is open for business.
We prefer to focus on that message, which will take the country forward,” Maharaj said. – Sapa