Thu, 13 Dec 2018
5
Shanghai

President Cyril Ramaphosa's first meeting on Monday during his maiden visit as head of state tot the United Nations (UN) is a friendly visit to UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres.

He arrived in New York on Sunday evening (South African time) on an SAA flight.

After their meeting, Ramaphosa will join Guterres for the unveiling of a statue of former president Nelson Mandela at the UN headquarters. Ramaphosa is then expected to give a speech at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit at the same building.

Graca Machel, Mandela's widow, is also on the list of speakers at the event, which is part of the Mandela centenary celebrations.

Ramaphosa will attend a banquet in honour of Mandela on Monday evening.

Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene, International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, and Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi are accompanying Ramaphosa on the trip.

Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, who died on Saturday, was also supposed to join them. Ramaphosa visited Molewa's family Saturday evening before he left for New York.

Ramaphosa has set himself a target to get $100bn (R1.431tn) in investments for South Africa over the next five years.

On Tuesday, he is scheduled to speak with Davis at the Bloomberg Business Forum and he will be back at the UN on Wednesday to attend the UN General Assembly's 73rd meeting. He will address the assembly regarding South Africa's priorities for its third term as a temporary member of the Security Council. This two-year term starts on January 1.

He will also speak about land reform and the country's plans to help the economy recover and grow.

US President Donald Trump is also expected to attend the meeting.

Nene will attend a meeting about financing the UN's agenda for 2030 at UN headquarters on Monday.

Sisulu has a busy few days ahead. She is attending meetings of the South Africa-India-Brazil work group and meetings of the BRICS and Commonwealth groupings, as well as the 42nd meeting of the group of 77 ministers of foreign affairs.

She also plans to attend meetings of the Non-Aligned States.

Motsoaledi will join Ramaphosa at a meeting about tuberculosis and Mapisa-Nqakula is to attend a meeting about UN peacekeeping.

Ramaphosa is expected to host more than one media conference during his trip.

*Sarel van der Walt, political journalist at Netwerk24, is in New York as a guest of the Presidency and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

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