Former South African presidents Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma all made state visits to Britain…reports Asian Lite News
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will make a state visit to Britain, Buckingham Palace said on Monday, the first such visit since King Charles succeeded his late mother Queen Elizabeth last month.
Ramaphosa and his wife, Tshepo Motsepe, have accepted an invitation from the new British monarch for the Nov. 22-24 state visit, the palace said.
Former South African presidents Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma all made state visits to Britain.
Britain exported 4 billion pounds ($4.5 billion) of goods and services to South Africa in 2021 and its imports from the country were worth about 8 billion pounds, according to British data. Britain is South Africa’s fourth-biggest export market.
It will effectively see the King and Queen Consort play host and usually includes a lavish state banquet, but full details will be released in the coming weeks.
Any decisions on who should be invited for state visits are made by the Foreign Office, and are seen as the ultimate diplomatic gift; they are an important way for the UK government to shore up relationships with countries that they see as strategically important for reasons such as trade or security.
The Queen’s last state visit was playing host to US president Donald Trump in 2019. A visit from Japan in 2020 was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The King has visited South Africa on a number of occasions since his first tour of the country, which included Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, in 1997.
His last trip was in 2011, along with the Queen Consort, then the Duchess of Cornwall. The three-day state visit comes as Ramaphosa faces allegations of money laundering in South Africa.
The president has denied the accusations, which include illegally holding around four million dollars in cash at his game ranch in northern South Africa and covering up its theft in an attempt to hide the existence of the money.
The scandal has proved a major blow to his image as a leader committed to stamping out corruption in South Africa.
Later today the King and Queen Consort will carry out their first official engagements since royal mourning for Queen Elizabeth II came to an end.
Two weeks since his mother’s funeral the King, and Camilla, will visit Dunfermline in Scotland to mark its new city status.
It is one of eight towns that have become cities to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
Their Majesties will also host a reception for members of British South Asian communities at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.