The DA protested outside the South African High Commission in London during President Ramaphosa’s visit to the commission yesterday, reminding the SA president that while he’s sipping tea with the King this week (let alone enjoying a banquet), South Africans back home don’t even have power in their homes to boil the kettle.
DA Abroad leader, and former MP, Gordon Mckay said at the protest that “as South Africa enters Stage 5 load shedding yet again, President Ramaphosa is having tea with the King, whilst South Africans can’t even switch on a kettle. President Ramaphosa should instead be in South Africa focussing on addressing these issues affecting vulnerable South Africans, as these issues will not be fixed by President Ramaphosa galivanting across the world.”
Whilst President Ramaphosa himself did not see the protestors, his police protection did engage with the South Africans gathered outside the Embassy, and senior staff from the Embassy came out to check if they needed anything. The President’s guests also saw the placards as they had to walk past the protestors to access the entrance.
The protest was also in solidarity with fellow South Africans who oppose the Russia-Ukraine War. “This war is making life harder for South Africans and our economy as it impacts inflation, security and our standing in the world,” says Darren Bergman, Shadow Minister for Foreign Relations.
Bergman says the President should be focussing on the economy and fixing load-shedding, the greylisting threat and the continued corruption and wasteful expenditure that damages the economy.
He says the DA is “raising awareness and concerns around the ANC’s implicit support of the Ukraine war which directly increases fuel and food prices in South Africa, affecting vulnerable, ordinary South Africans the most and has risked our international relationship with powerful trade partners that could jeopardise trade and tariff agreements in the future due to embarrassing UN votes, referendum election observations and of late military training exercises.”
The DA says it stands in solidarity with “74% of our fellow South Africans” who believe that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine should be condemned.
Apart from having tea with the King, President Ramaphosa will also hold official talks with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to review a range of issues including those that support economic growth and development in South Africa.
Last year, the UK was the 13th most important supplier of South Africa’s imports and the 5th largest exports destination of South Africa’s products.
In 2021, South Africa was the 34th exports destination for United Kingdom’s exports globally and the 1st exports destination for United Kingdom’s exports to Africa.
Bilateral trade reached the highest peak in 2021 for the ten-year period under review, at R148.4 billion, after falling from R138.6 billion in 2018 to R79.2 billion in 2019.
The UK is also South Africa’s number one source of long-haul tourism in the world, bringing much needed pounds to the country. UK tourists to South Africa have a very high repeat visitor rate with 67% apparently returning for a second visit.