President Cyril Ramaphosa has decided to skip this year’s United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to attend to domestic matters.
Both the Presidency and Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) confirmed this on Wednesday, according to SABC News.
International Relations and Cooperation Minister Dr Naledi Pandor will lead South Africa’s delegation.
The annual UNGA is held at the UN headquarters in New York, United States.
The high-level segment, which consists of heads of state and government, will start on 24 September.
A statement from the Presidency said over the coming weeks, Ramaphosa will be meeting “communities, civil society and structures of government” to address public concern.
This is a time for leadership from across society to mobilise their respective constituencies in support of economic progress and rebuilding the social and moral fabric of society.President Cyril Ramaphosa
Ramaphosa has faced some criticism for his frequent trips abroad in the face of challenges at home.
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Deputy President Floyd Shivambu recently tweeted:
The globe trotting President @CyrilRamaphosa is visiting South Africa this week, but he’s busy at the Talkshop called World Economic Forum.
Delegations after delegations have been attending @wef in Davos and wherever, and yet we have never seen real economic benefits from such! [Sic]Floyd Shivambu
Recent events, including unrest in Gauteng associated with anti-migrant sentiments, may have prompted Ramaphosa to skip UNGA.
He attended his first UNGA as president last year. The last time a South African president missed the meeting was in 2010.