Pretoria – President Jacob Zuma has a busy month ahead starting with his state visit to France between 10 and 12 July, as part of further strengthening relations between the two countries.
According to a Cabinet statement on Thursday, during the visit the President will attend the Centenary Commemoration of the Battle of Delville Wood of World War I, on 12 July 2016, where many South African soldiers lost their lives.
“While the Delville Wood Memorial is dedicated to South African soldiers, the apartheid government’s policies at the time excluded black South Africans who died during the war while their white counterparts were buried at the Delville Wood Memorial,” Cabinet said.
The memorial is undergoing a significant transformation to reflect the historical role played by black South Africans in the First and Second World Wars and to accord them the necessary recognition.
In this regard, Cabinet said, the President will also pay tribute to black soldiers at Arques-la-Bataille.
From 13 to 17 July, President Zuma will lead a South African delegation to the 27th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the AU, scheduled to take place in Kigali, Rwanda.
The summit will take place under the theme: “2016, African Year of Human Rights with a particular focus on Women’s Rights”.
The year 2016 marks important milestones in the continental and global women’s agenda for gender equality and women empowerment.
“Continentally, it is the 30th anniversary of the coming into force of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights in 1986 and the beginning of the second phase of the African Women’s Decade 2010-2020,” Cabinet said in a statement.
Globally, 2016 commemorates 36 years since the adoption of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the 21st anniversary of the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which is the key global policy on gender equality.
The Heads of State and Government will consider the report of the AU Peace and Security Council on the state of peace in Africa.
Furthermore, the summit will consider and approve the AU’s 2017 proposed budget.
President Zuma will also lead a South African government delegation to the Extra-Ordinary Summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Double Troika, to be held in Gaborone, Botswana on 28 June 2016.
The summit is expected to consider the political and security situation in the SADC region, paying particular attention to the situation in the Kingdom of Lesotho.
Meanwhile, today President Zuma is visiting Vulindlela Rural Enhanced People’s Housing Process (EPHP) in Umsunduzi Local Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal to celebrate the delivery of more than four million government houses and subsidies since the dawn of democracy in 1994.
In KwaZulu-Natal, government has delivered over 700 000 houses and subsidies including 12 000 units in the Vulindlela Rural Housing Project which were built through the EPHP.
The EPHP is a process where beneficiaries are actively involved in the decision-making over the housing process and product, and play a role in the building of their houses.