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Sat Jul 02 00:26:41 SAST 2016

'South Africa is open for business' but Zuma a no show at Davos Africa Panel

TMG Digital | 21 January, 2016 12:46
President Jacob Zuma. File photo.
Image by: South African presidency via Flickr stream

President Jacob Zuma went to Davos to declare “South Africa is open for business”‚ but appeared to shut himself off to the Africa Panel at the World Economic Forum 2016 on Thursday.

The editor and publisher of Biznews.com‚ Alec Hogg‚ took to Twitter to say: “‏Zuma has bailed on the Africa Panel - no Pravin either. Defeats the purpose of coming to #WEF16 or what?”

The latter referred to Finance Minster Pravin Gordhan‚ whom the Presidency had listed as “the lead minister” of the seven-strong Cabinet team sent to Davos in a statement on Wednesday.

Zuma’s withdrawal from the panel left organisers to scramble for a replacement as heads of state cannot be replaced by people junior to them.

Rwanda's president Paul Kagame was set to replace Zuma.

The purpose of attendance at Davos is to sell South Africa as an investment destination‚ but Zuma has given up a prime spot‚ apparently because he has another pressing engagement.

Not everyone would have seen Zuma’s absence as a problem‚ as obelix ‏@corticospinal had pleaded: “@alechogg please don't refer any Q&A to Zuma”.

Hogg replied: “Won't get chance @corticospinal. He bailed on Africa session. I never cracked invite to SA lunch today. No idea why‚ maybe got lost in post.”

He repeated his irritation at not being in the loop when commenting that there were “many empty seats in Africa session at #WEF16 - seems I was one of few who didn't hear Zuma pulled out”.

The Glynn ‏@GlynnErnesto decided to pick on Zuma’s much-laughed-at problems with big numbers and suggested: “@alechogg @NicDawes he's just worried someone asks him a question that requires a numerical answer - which is a reasonable concern”.

Calls by TMG Digital to Presidency spokesperson Bongani Majola were not returned at the time of publication.

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