Unpacking Cyril Ramaphosa's shortened trip to Egypt
President Cyril Ramaphosa has sent ministers Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Ayanda Dlodlo to represent him at a meeting in Egypt as he cut short his trip to that country to deal with the energy crises at Eskom.
Ramaphosa landed in Cairo on Tuesday morning, where he first had a briefing with the South African delegation before his meeting with Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
He was flanked by international relations and co-operation minister Naledi Pandor, defence and military veterans minister Mapisa-Nqakula, trade and industry minister Ebrahim Patel, state security minister Dlodlo and tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane.
A number of his advisers also accompanied him on the trip that he was criticised for taking, given the problems at Eskom.
Ramaphosa met El-Sisi for bilateral talks which he described as “frank and open” and which reviewed a range of issues of a bilateral, continental and global nature.
“We noted increased economic co-operation and trade relations between our two countries, which will stimulate the growing presence of South African and Egyptian companies in each other’s countries.
"As the two governments, we have committed ourselves to create an enabling environment to reduce the cost and improve the ease of doing business in our respective countries,” Ramaphosa said after the meeting.
Peace and stability in Africa also came up, with Ramaphosa saying they have reaffirmed a commitment to peace and stability on the continent.
“We have also congratulated president El-Sisi for the exemplary manner in which he has led the African Union as its chairperson,” Ramaphosa said as he takes over as chair of the AU next year.
After the meeting with El-Sisi, Ramaphosa decided not to stay in Egypt and continue to Aswan as was planned. He was meant to participate in the inaugural session of the Aswan forum for sustainable peace and development. The forum is being held under the theme “An agenda for sustainable peace, security and development”.
The forum is expected to host African and world leaders, policy makers, regional and international business people, members of civil society and academics to exchange views on challenges to peace, security and development as well as opportunities.
Mapisa-Nqakula and Dlodlo will represent Ramaphosa as he heads back to meet Eskom's board.
Late on Monday, Ramaphosa said he received an update on the situation leading to stage 6 load-shedding across the country.
“The president has been in constant communication with the minister of public enterprises and the leadership of the electricity utility on the state of the national grid and on the work being done to address the current crisis,” the presidency said.