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Ramaphosa skips first face-to-face Covid-19 era G20 summit due to local government elections

President Cyril Ramaphosa says he will skip the G20 summit in Rome, Italy, because of the elections on Monday. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

President Cyril Ramaphosa says he will skip the G20 summit in Rome, Italy, because of the elections on Monday. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Oct 30, 2021

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President Cyril Ramaphosa will miss this weekend’s two-day G20 summit in Rome, Italy due to Monday’s local government elections.

Ramaphosa announced the decision while answering questions from journalists after campaigning in Ivory Park in Midrand, Johannesburg today ahead of the municipal polls.

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”I was due to go to the G20 because as you know South Africa is a member of the G20, but the election campaign and the elections themselves have prevented me from going,” he said.

The president said he was glad that International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor was at the G20 summit, and that he was keeping in close contact with her at two- or three-hourly intervals on the discussions taking place.

”I had a number of calls from other heads of state who were asking whether I am coming. South Africa’s voice is much needed and expected at the G20, but this time our minister will carry South Africa’s flag,” Ramaphosa explained.

The G20 summit is the first face-to-face gathering of world leaders in two years, following Covid-19 restrictions forcing last year's event in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to be held virtually.

Addressing ANC members at the Kopanang sports ground in Ivory Park, Ramaphosa told resident that the party’s candidates had pledged to serve the community not themselves.

”They pledge that they will not steal money meant for the community. When you occupy the seat of councillor, stealing funds ends,” he said.

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According to Ramaphosa, ANC councillors will not be involved in nepotism and hiring of friends in municipalities.

”ANC councillors can’t call their friends and tell them to come closer there is something to be eaten. There won’t be such,” he promised, adding that the party’s representatives will also be stopped from hiring their relatives.

In Friday’s Siyanqoba rally at Thokoza Park in Moroka, Soweto, Ramaphosa pleaded with the people of South Africa to give the ANC a mandate to rebuild and renew the country’s cities, towns, villages and rural areas.

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”By working together, we will win. Together, we will win these local government elections. We will win the fight against Covid-19, against poverty and unemployment, against crime and gender-based violence. We will win the struggle for a growing economy that benefits everyone, for land to work and homes to live in.

We will win the struggle for decent jobs, more opportunities and a better life for all. On the 1st of November, vote for better communities,” he said.

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