The Russian invasion of Ukraine, upcoming elections in Zimbabwe and President Cyril Ramaphosa’s just energy transition investment plan will be among many topics for discussion when he undertakes a state visit to the UK next week.
Ramaphosa will meet King Charles III and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on his state visit on November 22 and 23.
British high commissioner to South Africa Antony Phillipson told journalists on Wednesday that Ramaphosa is expected in London on Monday November 21.
On the recent terror alert issued by the US, Phillipson said both countries “talk necessarily, discretely and privately” on the threats they face.
“These are threats that exist around the world and obviously we keep a very close eye on it in the context of the state of affairs here in South Africa, and we talk a lot to our South African colleagues about it.”
Phillipson believes the issue may feature in the discussions between ministers and officials in London next week.
The war between Ukraine and Russia remains an issue of significant concern to both governments, he said.
“We continue to discuss with them how best to move forward, which is a shared ambition of an end to the conflict and substantive peace in and for the people of Ukraine. Yes, we have been on slightly different pages on how we vote in things like the General Assembly but I do not think we are divided on what the substantive ambition is here.”
Phillipson says he believes the visit will be an excellent opportunity for a detailed in-person discussion between Sunak and Ramaphosa on the war.
“I think they will be able to take account of the latest developments and have a good substantive exchange about the best way of moving towards that shared ambition.”
He added that the invasion had global ramifications. “I think it is a deeply unstable situation, which is why we continue to focus on how we end this and to see it as a global geopolitical challenge. It is not confined to Russia and Ukraine.”
Elaborating on what the leaders will discuss on the just energy transition, Phillipson said: “I think we are continuing to work with the South African government in the best way to bring the 1.8bn that we have committed to mobilising in the next three to five years.
“I think there are still some discussions to have, including the next step on the (just energy transition) investment plan — we will be moving into how it’s going to be implemented.”
While this is a positive step, Phillipson said, there is still a journey that needs to be travelled on the matter.
The two countries are also in discussions about the upcoming Zimbabwean elections.
“I think everyone wants to see the same thing, which is free and fair elections in Zimbabwe next year. We also want to see action taken on human rights and I think this again will be a good opportunity for the president and the prime minister, and other ministers and officials, to have a discussion.”
Because there is a shared ambition, Phillipson said, both countries want to see prosperity and security for the people of Zimbabwe, delivered through free and fair elections.