President Cyril Ramaphosa to engage with British royalty ahead of UK state visit

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President Cyril Ramaphosa will arrive in the United Kingdom on Monday ahead of a state visit this week when King Charles III will host him.

Ramaphosa’s visit scheduled for tomorrow and Wednesday will include a colourful ceremonial welcome outside Buckingham Palace, engagements with the new British monarch, a meeting with the UK’s new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and engagements with leading business leaders from both countries.

South Africa’s High Commissioner to the UK, Kingsley Mamabolo, says it’s a great honour for Ramaphosa to be the first foreign leader to be invited to the European country since King Charles took the throne.

“Britain having exited, we know the Brexit story, having exited they are now looking for a new identity, they are now looking for a new role and they are saying South Africa, Africa and the Commonwealth you now have a big role in terms of investment and the future of the UK. So, of course, we should look at the symbolism and it’s a great symbolism that they have reached out but of course, we have to look at how we can translate that into concrete positive achievements that we can have.”

In the report below, SABC News Political Editor Mzwandile Mbeje unpacks what’s expected ahead of the state visit:

UK Minister for Africa looking forward to visit 

Meanwhile, United Kingdom Minister for Africa, Gillian Keegan, has since said she is looking forward to President Ramaphosa’s state visit to Great Britain.

Keegan says South Africa as a Commonwealth, United Nations and G20 member remains a key partner.

She says London and Pretoria are keen to work together towards a green and healthy future.

The visit was initially planned by the late British Queen Elizabeth II. This will be the first state visit hosted by King Charles III since the passing of his mother in September.

Annual trade between the UK and South Africa amounts to billions of rand per annum.

Britain is South Africa’s fourth-biggest export market.

Previewing President Ramaphosa’s upcoming UK state visit with Laura Makin-Isherwood: 

-Additional reporting by Khayelihle Khumalo