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South African High Commissioner presents credentials to King Charles III ahead of Ramaphosa visit

South African High Commissioner presents credentials to King Charles III ahead of Ramaphosa visit
High Commissioner Mamabolo presents credentials to King Charles III. (Photo: Suppleid)

Kingsley Mamabolo says the two countries must build on their history of collaboration on climate change and endangered species.

The upcoming state visit of President Cyril Ramaphosa (November 22-24) was a “humbling symbol” of the importance Britain attaches to Africa and the Commonwealth, South African High Commissioner Kingsley Mamabolo said on Wednesday after presenting his credentials to King Charles III.

Ramaphosa’s visit will be the first full-blown state visit to the UK since King Charles was sworn in as the monarch on 8th September following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. 

On Wednesday, Mamabolo was at the front of the queue of High Commissioners presenting their credentials to the new King. Passing crowds thronged around Buckingham Palace’s entrance when they realised a ceremony involving dignitaries was taking place.

Mamabolo indicated the British Monarch had chosen South Africa and the Commonwealth for the first state visit of his reign as a powerful act of symbolism reaching out to Africa and the Commonwealth. 

“We now need to ensure that the symbolism is translated into something concrete in building the relationship between our two countries,” Mamabolo said, adding that there was a long and deep historic relationship between the two countries including collaboration on climate change and endangered species.

He said British investment in South Africa was responsible for more than 56,500 jobs — Britain was South Africa’s fourth-largest export market and the seventh largest source of South African imports.

“It is my intention to help build this relationship in the context of the state visit.”

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Mamabolo said the King had shared his wish that the relationship between the two countries would flourish, particularly in the field of renewable energy where he saw South Africa as a future player in the production and application of green hydrogen, Mamabolo said.

“The King was very engaging and supportive and very well informed about South Africa,” he said.

King Charles had already taken over as head of the Commonwealth from his mother in 2018 with the full endorsement of the 54-nation body.

The election of Rishi Sunak as the first Asian and Hindu Prime Minister has been widely welcomed as historic, and evidence of the emergence of Britain as a non-racial society guaranteeing equality of opportunity. Sunak’s cabinet reflects a high degree of both ethnic and gender diversity.

One commentator suggested that his election was a potentially fortuitous development for King Charles who was committed to further building relations within the multi-racial and multi-cultural Commonwealth and countering Britain’s controversial legacy of empire and London as the financial centre of slavery.

Mamabolo is a seasoned diplomat, having served as South Africa’s ambassador to the United Nations, the African Union (when it was still the OAU) , Nigeria and Zimbabwe as well as head of the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (Unamid)

His wife Eleanor accompanied him to the ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday. DM



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