King Charles welcomes South Africa’s Ramaphosa for first state visit
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa with King Charles and Queen Elizabeth at Cape Town International Airport shortly before the arrival of the King and Queen of England at the Durban airport, South Africa February 7, 2018. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is embarking on a four-day state visit to England, has invited the UK for a “jolly good old-fashioned” trip – a contrast to the two weeks of meetings Prime Minister Theresa May has had in South Africa.
In a speech to the House of Lords on Wednesday, the new president said his upcoming state visit would take place in the “warmest of friendships”. He also reiterated he had the “full support of the African National Congress” during his election campaign and was committed to building a strong relationship between South Africa and England.
“The reality of the climate that you live in has changed a lot in my lifetime,” Ramaphosa said to the House. “I know it will happen in the future too and I have every intention of being able to take the relationship to the next level, which, I am very confident, will be very good.”
There has been speculation that in light of the Brexit vote last month, Ramaphosa is preparing for a more public and more publicised trip to the United Kingdom. May, however, has made it clear that she will not welcome any visit to the UK from the president of South Africa during the time of the EU elections in May.
When asked about the potential for a state visit from Ramaphosa, May’s Office said they had no such travel plans.
The UK has in recent weeks been criticised in South Africa for its slow response to the high level of violent crime in South Africa, as well as for its criticism of Ramaphosa’s first state visit to Britain.