South Africa’s foreign minister replaces president as delegation head to UNGA

FILE PHOTO: South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor delivers a speech during a session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, on February 28, 2022. /AFP Photo
FILE: South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor delivers a speech during a session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, on February 28, 2022. /AFP

South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, will lead the country’s delegation to the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly after President Cyril Ramaphosa cancelled plans to travel to New York amid a power crisis.

Pandor accompanied the President to London, where world leaders gathered to attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

Ramaphosa was initially scheduled to proceed to New York from the funeral, but developments back in South Africa forced a change of plans. The country’s power utility, Eskom, announced on Sunday it was upping load shedding to stage six, sparking criticism from opposition and top leaders in various sectors of the economy.

Eskom has relied on the national level rolling blackouts for months, as electricity supply falls behind electricity demand.

The presidency announced that President Ramaphsa would return to the country immediately after the British Monarch’s funeral.

The presidency Monday sent out another statement outlining the scheduled appointments at UNGA, and the persons who will take charge.

Pandor will be joined in New York by other high-level government officials.

The Minister in the Presidency, Mr Mondli Gungubele, will participate in the Third Sustainable Development Goals Moment 2022: High Level Meeting prior to the opening of the 77th UN General Assembly’s General Debate on Tuesday, 20 September 2022.

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga will also be in attendance, and will deliver the country statement at the opening of the Transformation Education Summit.

“The various engagements at UNGA will provide South Africa with an opportunity to highlight issues of national, regional and international importance. South Africa’s participation in the General Debate of the UNGA77 is a strategic opportunity for the promotion of our national and foreign policy objectives as espoused in Chapter 7 of the NDP, Positioning South Africa in the World,” the South African presidency said.