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Zuma aborts Zimbabwe trip

by Staff reporter
10 Aug 2019 at 07:56hrs | Views
FORMER South African President Jacob Zuma representatives' yesterday visited the late national hero Dr Dumiso Dabengwa's residence in Bulawayo to pay their respects.

Zuma, who was scheduled to address a United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA) regional conference at a hotel in Kumalo suburb and also visit the late national hero's family in Fourwinds suburb, aborted his trip to Zimbabwe at the 11th hour after encountering logistical challenges in Johannesburg.

UCCSA, which is the former London Missionary Society, is the oldest church in Zimbabwe and has branches in South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique and Namibia.

The ex-South African president is a member of that church. Zuma did not arrive as scheduled as his security team allegedly did not have "enough space" on the Zimbabwe bound South African Airways flight that landed at Joshua Mqabuko International Airport at 12PM.  His advance team was already in the country.

In an interview at the Dabengwa family residence, Zuma's spokesperson Mr Vukile Mathabela said the former President ended up not making it to Zimbabwe.

"As you know he was expected to be a guest at the church, the UCCSA. However, you should know that he is not only a guest but a member of the church so he was coming in his capacity both as a member of the church and a guest speaker as he was invited. However, we had just one challenge that as he was about to leave South Africa, his security details couldn't get enough space on the flight. Therefore, he ended up not coming this side. We apologise," said Mr Mathabela.

"He was looking forward to the visit. Some of us had prepared speeches and he was looking forward to be part of the whole conference of the UCCSA. That is basically where we are. He is no longer coming to Bulawayo." He said since the conference is ending tomorrow, there is a possibility that Zuma could come on Sunday.

"The service was going to last until Sunday so we don't want to commit to anything now until we are sure of whether it's possible to do Sunday. But for today and tomorrow its out," Mr Mathabela said.

"We don't know whether it's because of the long weekend that there was an issue with the flight. That is why we are not sure and basically at this stage we don't want to confirm when he is likely to come." Mr Mathabela said they had intended to "kill two birds with one stone" - going to church and visiting the Dabengwa family.

He said Zuma could not get special treatment on the flight as he was now an ordinary South African citizen and could not use State resources.

Source - chronicle
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