Pretoria – The First Lady Dr. Tshepo Motsepe is recuperating from recent surgery and will not be accompanying President Cyril Ramaphosa on his state visit to the United Kingdom.
“President Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa will, at the invitation of His Majesty, King Charles III, conduct a state visit to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) from 22 to 23 November 2022,” the Presidency said late Sunday.
“President Ramaphosa will convey to His Majesty King Charles III and the Queen Consort the First Lady Dr. Tshepo Motsepe’s deep regret at not being able to participate in the state visit.
“On the advice of her doctors, the First Lady could not travel on a long-haul flight due to her recovery from recent surgery on her eyes.”
Royal state visits are in the furtherance of bilateral relations and as a symbol of respect and of the importance the UK ascribes to its relations with a particular country.
President Ramaphosa is the first Head of State to be hosted for a State Visit by His Majesty Charles III.
“During the visit, President Ramaphosa will also hold official talks with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to review a range of issues of a bilateral, continental, and global nature,” said Vincent Magwenya, spokesperson to President Ramaphosa.
Key sectors under consideration for mutual benefit and to support economic growth and development in South Africa include infrastructure development, mining, energy, manufacturing, agro-processing, business process outsourcing, and tourism.
On Tuesday, 22 November, President Ramaphosa will be officially welcomed by His Majesty King Charles III at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
“Later in the day, the President will address a Joint Sitting of the Houses of Parliament, before being hosted to a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace,” Magwenya said.
On Wednesday, (23 November 2022), President Ramaphosa accompanied by the Earl of Wessex, will participate in a roundtable on climate change and biodiversity.
Thereafter, Ramaphosa will visit the Francis Crick Institute, the largest biomedical research institute in Europe, where he will be briefed on the partnership between South Africa and the UK in this area of science.
“Here the President will also interact with young South African scientists who are attached to the Crick Institute,” said Magwenya.
“This engagement will be followed by the President’s engagement with Prime Minister Sunak at 10 Downing Street.”
Following the Downing St visit, Ramaphosa will participate in a bilateral business roundtable at Lancaster House where economic cooperation will be deliberated by South African and United Kingdom Ministers and Secretaries of State respectively, officials as well as business leaders.
The second day of the state visit concludes with a banquet hosted by the Lord Mayor of London in honour of the SA President.
The President is accompanied on the visit by International Relations and Cooperation Minister Dr. Naledi Pandor; Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister Dr. Blade Nzimande; Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel and Health Minister Dr. Joe Phaahla.