SA Govt Downplays Zuma’s Absence At Mandela London Memorial

via RadioVop Zimbabwe – SA Govt Downplays Zuma’s Absence At Mandela London Memorial March 2, 2014

See  related articleSA President Zuma to attend #mugabe wedding

The  South African Presidency has downplayed claims that the absence of President Jacob Zuma at the memorial service of former President Nelson Mandela in London is a lost opportunity to boost diplomatic ties between South Africa and its former colonial master Britain.

President Zuma’s last minute decision to pull-out from attending the royal event was met with “disappointment” and “scepticism” by some prominent British politicians and anti-Apartheid Movement activists.

Newly appointed South Africa’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Obed Mlaba, has however rebuffed reports that President Zuma’s absence was a deliberate snub to British authorities.

“We all do appreciate how busy we are as South Africans.  We are aware how busy our President is right now. Besides the elections, there are so many demands of his time and there is nothing different from the president…  Where he can’t make it we go and close those gaps.”

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe was instead expected to lead a government delegation to the service. He will be accompanied by International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, and Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation Minister Collins Chabane.

The historic service in honour of Madiba will be held at the Westminster Abbey on Monday. The service is believed to be the first major event to be staged in honour of a non-Briton. The 1000 year old Abbey is where generations of royal family members have been crowned and buried.

Research Director at the British think-tank Chatham House, Alex Vines, explains the significance of Madiba’s royal memorial service.

“This is highly significant.  It’s extremely rare for a non-British person to be honoured with the state memorial service at Westminster Abbey.”

“This is where the Queen of the United Kingdom is enthroned; it’s where the big funerals of state take place.  It’s an important statement that Nelson Mandela is recognised in living memory. There is nothing like that where somebody so significant as Nelson Mandela is honoured at Westminster Abbey.”

Chatham House’ Alex Vines says Madiba’s royal honour at Westminster Abbey should inspire South African leaders to emulate the former statesman’s moral values.

The memorial event has been over-subscribed. About 1 800 people, including British Prime Minister David Cameron, will attend the ceremony. Prince Harry will stand in for his grand-mother Queen Elizabeth The Second.

Chatham House’ Alex Vines says Madiba’s royal honour at Westminster Abbey should inspire South African leaders to emulate the former statesman’s moral values.

“I hope that the honouring of him at West Minster Abbey reflects just how global and important he is. South Africans should not lose that vision, that South Africa’s new leadership post Mandela should reconnect with those values because that’s what makes South Africa truly special and unique.  That’s why Mandela is remembered in this massive ceremony in Westminster Abbey.”




  • comment-avatar
    Roving Ambassador 9 years ago

    He would rather be at the Mugabe wedding, an assembly of crooks and gangsters. What a shame. And to think that Zanu has been sponsoring Malema the thug. South Africa wake up for you are going the same way, down.

    • comment-avatar
      apolitical 9 years ago

      to TERRORIST Roving Ambassador, you see, its not nice too accuse people of crime without evidence.
      All that happened is that the SA president put regional affairs before UK affairs as he should, and you want to give him instructions based on propaganda and lack of expertise and IQ.

      • comment-avatar
        Mthwakazi 9 years ago

        What regional affair is Bona’s wedding. This is a private family affair – its not of any political or regional significance. On that score, President Zuma was wrong.

        This is not to say I wish he had attended the British ceremony either – apart from the use or the abuse of the great Mandela’s name in my view, it is only significant to the British, not us Africans because its their culture, not ours!!

  • comment-avatar
    Ruramai 9 years ago

    Zuma was afraid some naughty reporter could ask about Nkandla.

    Besides, for someone who loves dancing, choosing a wedding over a memorial service made more sense.

    • comment-avatar
      Mthwakazi 9 years ago

      Dancing is part of African culture. I admire President Zuma for that -he is never afraid to flaunt his culture as an African. He sings and dances – thats just us – the Africans; the Ngunis; the Xhosa; the Venda; the Sothos; the Batswana etc.

      We will never be as stiff as the gukurahundi Mugabe and his British ancestors – we are africans and we are proud of that!!

  • comment-avatar

    He came to ask for Nikuv to help him in Gauteng ,Northwest and Limpopo Provinces were he has problems wth DA and EFF

  • comment-avatar
    gizara 9 years ago

    Let the dead bury their own dead.

  • comment-avatar
    Mthwakazi 9 years ago

    As predicted, this issue is already taking racial undertones in South Africa.

    Lets face it – if we invited the British Prime Minister to South Africa, for a Traditional Nguni ceremony that is meant to honour him – would he really put aside everything and head down South?

    White South Africans are all up in arms in this, because its the west, its the British. Had it been the Chinese, would they be making so much noise?

    On the other hand, this is not to say I agree with Zuma attending a private gukurahundi family wedding at the expense of duties calling back home. This has nothing to do with the region or the interests of South Africans!!

  • comment-avatar
    Zvichapera 9 years ago

    Zuma is an embarrassment to South Africa and the continent. How can he possibly face the world, corrupt as he is. They say the guilty are afraid. No real reason has been given, the only good reason for not showing up, is, he knows everybody can see right through him. He is just a thief like his mate RGM.

    • comment-avatar
      Mthwakazi 9 years ago

      Dont be stupid. You talking likr Hllen Zille or Julius Malema now. This is what people who are desperate to defeat a political opponent resort to, especially after they have tried everything and failed.

      you know very well that you accuse a person only after proof or a court process has convicted the individual. You dont make wild statements based on speculation.

      whats so special about attending a British cultural function? would the British be that keen to attend your own Shona cultural function?

      Dont be foolish. Grow up.

      what evidence do youy have that President Zuma is corrupt? Which court convicted him?

  • comment-avatar
    Roving Ambassador 9 years ago

    I do take it as a compliment to be named gandanga.I take it the medal is for enlightening whoever reads my contributions, of the evils of the current leadership, whether it be The Zanu Mafia or the Zanufied MDC.

  • comment-avatar

    You are missing the point when you think only Africans like dancing.Read your history and the Bible,they all mention music in all nations,this is a universal language.
    How can you compare the Chinese with the S Africa being invited by the British.The two do not compare because the British and the S Africans have long standing historic relation going back to more than 100 years.After all the S Africa got help from the Soviet Union during their struggle,very little from China.
    Mr Zuma lacks foresight in his international relations as witnessed by the decisions they have made as SADAC in respect to our situation here.
    Somebody mentioned lack of IQ-How do you arrive at that decision without a scientific test to that individual?You have to be very careful how you valuate somebody’s IQ because this is a complicated assessment.
    @Mthwakazi- a good lawyer can make a guilty person escape jail sentence.This is why the povo ends up in the jails whilst the rich get away with serious murder crimes and rape cases.This happens in every country.

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    Charles Chamunorwa 9 years ago

    Zuma is turning out to be a puppet of the Chinese and Mugabe. These people tell him what to do and what not. He has refused to give a visa to the Dhalla Rarama after being told by the Chinese not to do so. He gave a thumbs up to a copromised election in Zimbabwe and he is refusing to release the 2002 Zimbabwe election report prepared by eminent judges from Sout Africa and he allowed SADC to suspend it’s tribunal to serve/save Mugabe’s interest. He is nolonger representing South Africans. They must ditch him at the May General Elections.

    • comment-avatar
      Mthwakazi 9 years ago

      Charles Chamunorwa
      You now have a problem with Msholozi because he is not doing exactly what you want?

      Obviously he must have been doing somethig right if he got bashed several times by Jonathan Moyo on the one hand and is now being bashed by you pro-Tsvangirayi people on the other.