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Was he snubbed? Ramaphosa fails to crack the nod for G7 summit in Japan

Was he snubbed? Ramaphosa fails to crack the nod for G7 summit in Japan
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Radek Pietruszka) | President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Photo: Waldo Swiegers / Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Cyril Ramaphosa was all geared up and ready to go to the G7 summit in Japan next month, as he has attended every G7 summit since becoming President in 2018. Only, this time the invitation did not arrive.

Unlike Canada, France, the UK and Germany, which had hosted President Cyril Ramaphosa as an honoured guest at their G7 summits in 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022, respectively, Japan did not invite him to next month’s G7 summit in Hiroshima.

Though some diplomats are trying to explain that this year’s summit is different because the other G7 hosts are countries more interested in Africa, while Japan is more focused on its own Asian region, clearly something is amiss in South African-Japanese relations.

It may have something to do with the fact that South Africa declined to attend Japan’s own big Ticad summit with African leaders in Tunisia last year. South Africa had raised concerns about Morocco’s participation at Ticad in line with its stance to support the Sahrawi people in their long-running territorial dispute with Morocco over the ownership of Western Sahara. When South Africa received no response from Japan about its complaint, South Africa decided not to attend the summit as a means of protest, sources told Daily Maverick

But could it also be related to South Africa’s failure to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has increasingly irked Western and like-minded countries?

Read more in Daily Maverick: Dangerous liaisons: SA’s Russian roulette jeopardises trade agreements with US and other Western nations

Certainly, Tokyo’s decision not to invite a South African president to a G7 summit for the first time in many years has taken the South African government by surprise.

The President’s team was certainly under the impression that he would be invited to the summit and had pencilled the event into Ramaphosa’s busy schedule. The Presidency went as far as inviting journalists to cover the summit. However, last week the chief of staff in the Presidency dropped a bomb when he informed the communications team that Ramaphosa had not been invited after all.  

That is when they discovered that Tokyo had decided instead to invite only Azali Assoumani, who is the chairperson of the African Union and the president of Comoros, to represent Africa.

People close to Ramaphosa have told Daily Maverick that he is undeterred by the latest developments and is determined to stay in the country and work on domestic problems which include the power crisis.  

International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor also seemed surprised. She said on Wednesday that Japan’s decision not to invite South Africa to the G7 summit was “unusual.” She was speaking following a meeting with Norway’s minister of foreign affairs, Anniken Huitfeldt.

“What I am aware of is that there was a meeting of [G7] ministers but the summit has not happened as yet, so I do not know whether President Ramaphosa will be attending the summit. With respect to the ministers’ meeting, South Africa was not invited.

“Japan chose to invite the African Union chair, so a minister from Comoros came to the meeting. This was rather unusual as South Africa is always invited to G7 meetings, but of course, the host chooses what they do, we cannot force ourselves on them,” said Pandor.

Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said: “The President is not feeling snubbed. The host made a decision to reconfigure Africa’s participation to have the AU chair as the main participant from Africa. It is the host’s prerogative, [one] that the President respects.” 

The Japanese embassy in SA explained to Daily Maverick that Ramaphosa had not been invited because: “Countries selected for outreach are those beyond G7, centred in the Global South, playing an active and significant role in global peace, stability and economic order or those who are showing a strong motivation to do so.

“Adding to this, as G7 is held in Asia, the focus was also put on to the Indo-Pacific region.” DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • John Pearse says:

    “You can’t have your cake and eat it”.

  • Ken Barris says:

    The key paragraph – “Countries selected for outreach are those beyond G7, centred in the Global South, playing an active and significant role in global peace, stability and economic order or those who are showing a strong motivation to do so.“

  • Scott Gordon says:

    Maybe Japan sent CR a letter via the Post Office ?
    Why invite him anyway ?
    All talk and no action , would be there with the begging bowl out say how fantastic it will be for investors in SA .
    Just as well he did not get the invite , how would he pay for the flights for him and ‘ entourage ‘ ?

    • G O says:

      He would pay with taxpayers money. This is the first step to finally classifying South Africa as a failed state controlled by ideological incompetent.

  • Bosuns Pincher says:

    South Africa is being judged by the company the ANC keeps.

  • David Edwards says:

    A subtle sign of our inexorable and inevitable slide into irrelevance. Without reliable infrastructure, what separates SA from any other failed states? Our gratitude must be reserved for the ANC for their diligent destruction, raging rejection of responsibility and more lately CRs complete lack of animation.

  • John Georgiou says:

    “People close to Ramaphosa have told Daily Maverick that he is undeterred by the latest developments and is determined to stay in the country and work on domestic problems which include the power crisis” – What a joke. He hasn’t worked on anything other than avoiding doing anything about the country’s domestic problems. The people affected by blackouts have a very different understanding of the word “power crisis” that Pres Squirrel has. as shown by the complete lack of action on his and the ANC’s part.

    • Paddy Ross says:

      How can he claim to be working on the power crisis when he appears to be uninterested in who the Ministers are that are ripping off Eskom?

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    WELL DONE !! to the G7 for not inviting the spinless, duplicitous and hypocritical Ramaphosa. He has no credibility, zero gravitas and adds absolutely no value. An veritable nothing-nik in the presence of giants. He has made his bed with Russia, blindly supporting and closing ranks with the evil mass-murder Putin monster, and no amount of smoke/mirrors and speaking with a forked tongue will no longer fool anybody. It is high time that the decent rest of the world treats him and his hideous governments like the true treacherous pariahs that they are, and keep company with.

  • bushtrack says:

    Our minister of International Affairs surprised? Soon to be in a state of continuous state of surprise when most of the Cabinet ministers and our undeterred president `working` (read crisis management) on domestic problems they have known to exist and spiralling out of control. Surprised that G7 countries no longer seek audience with a Government of a country which had in the past been the powerhouse of Africa. Surprise that not a single SOE is functional & profitable (SARS excluded). Surprise that the state coffers had run empty.

  • Holly Golightly says:

    Methinks that is government’s Ukraine-Russia chicken coming home to roost. Prepare yeself for a whole flock coming home in coming years.

  • Chris 123 says:

    Is anyone surprised, what does he expect brown nosing the Russians.

  • Alley Cat says:

    Is anyone surprised (apart from Cyril who seems surprised at everything going on in our country, like load shedding)?
    So we don’t want to condemn Russia’s war in Ukraine and we have been grey listed for poor money laundering controls, but we REALLY think the international community is going to overlook this??
    The circus just continues.

  • Barry Taylor says:

    I am delighted that frogboiler was not invited
    All he does is stand around with a begging bowl like the poor at teh stop streets in SA
    He has no right to be there as what has he contributed to the economy of Japan and then also snubbed them.
    he should never be invited to teh G20 either,let him go to Russia and beg if he feels like begging

  • Shirley Gobey says:

    An excellent decision. We dont deserve a place there. SA once the darling of the world after 1994, now we are becoming the pariah. Unfortunately the ruling party is too thick skinned to get the hint.

  • Bee Man says:

    Well done, Japan. Our government and Cyril in particular have done little to deserve a seat at this illustrious table.

  • R S says:

    Considering the actions of the ANC, it’s unsurprising that the world has finally realised that the party of Mandela no longer exists and don’t want anything to do with them.

    • Kanu Sukha says:

      Exactly … but what has he been doing about our energy crises … other than appointing a delinquent or is it irrelevant minister of electricity who bounced in and out of 5 or 6 power stations in ONE day (under the noses of none other than the EFF of all things !) … and proudly (more like irresponsibly) announces that the ‘problems’ are purely ‘technical’ …. and have nothing to do with ‘corruption/sabotage’ !! If that is the case … why has the problem not been solved ? Instead it has gotten worse ! Disgraceful … and shameless.

  • Grenville Wilson says:

    What value could SA represented by CR add in any event?

  • Anthony Sturges says:

    The government had already penciled the event in and went as far as inviting journalists. He is ‘said’ to be undiscouraged and is determined to work on domestic issues – oh please, the ignominy has to be embarrassing! Further proof of this country’s irrelevance in global politics and its relegation into the diplomatic backwaters!

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    We are what we have become….just another “ s…hole. African country” to coin a phrase first uttered by US President, Trump!
    Didn’t take long, but there it is!

  • Trevor Forbes says:

    Hopefully, Cyril and Naledi will reflect on South Africa’s trade balance and the extreme economic risk they are clearly running with their so called neutral stance on the Ukraine war and Russia. In 2021, South Africa exported more than twice as much to America and her allies (for this read most of G7) than Russia and her axis (including China and India). South Africa ran a positive trade balance of $21.6 billion with America and her allies and a $3.6 billion negative balance (deficit) with Russia and her axis. Maybe the government should be very worried about the potential economic impact from this clear warning from the G7. The ANC’s stance on Russia, Ukraine and China could come with a significant economic cost just when South Africa needs all the ‘good’ friends it can muster to resolve it’s significant economic problems. After all the trade stats don’t lie. America and her allies create jobs in South Africa through a trade surplus but Russia and her axis export South African jobs, via a trade deficit, – mainly to China!

  • virginia crawford says:

    Many obvious reasons but possibly to avoid the cringing when CR claims all is well and please invest, load shedding is not a problem etc. It must be incredibly embarrassing having to listen to this and difficult to keep a straight face.

  • Hilary Morris says:

    As always, the most depressing part of everything that is falling apart in SA is the absolute certainty that nothing constructive can or will be done by this bunch of clowns masquerading as a government. Ramaphosa seems to exist in a fantasy bubble, and it becomes increasingly embarrassing to watch him flounder his way
    through any nonsense speech he makes. He even starts to look like a zombie. Lost and confused.

  • Rory Short says:

    When a country is governed by a criminal syndicate it is not surprising when the gang boss is not invited to a meeting of non-gangsters.

  • Andrew Blaine says:

    It appears that the distrust of government endemic in South Africa has become international?
    With the ongoing vacillation and talking in circles will inevitably miff the western powers. Should they lose patience then South Africa and North Korea will become partners in poverty

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