Cape Town – President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed Deputy President David Mabuza as his special envoy to Russia, according to a statement from the Presidency.
The move appears to set a point of departure on South Africa’s role in the BRICS group of emerging economies which include Brazil, Russia, India and China. South Africa has been tight-lipped on the grouping since Ramaphosa replaced former president Jacob Zuma in February.
Russia’s relations with South Africa in recent years have been loaded with intriguing twists, including Russia’s ambitions to spearhead South Africa’s now shelved nuclear build programme.
Mabuza will hit the ground running and meet with Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Tuesday to congratulate him on behalf of Ramaphosa and the South African government on his re-election as Russian president in March.
“President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed Deputy President David Mabuza as his Special Envoy to the Russian Federation, where he will, among other things, meet with President Vladimir Putin in Russia.
“President Ramaphosa looks forward to further strengthening the already existing political, economic and trade ties between South Africa and Russia,” the statement said.
The statement said Ramaphosa would host Putin along with other heads of state in the BRICS grouping of emerging economy nations at the BRICS Summit scheduled to take place in South Africa in late July 2018.