Presidential Press Corps launched

President Jacob Zuma addressing the Launch of the Presidential Press Corps held at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, 22/02/2016. Elmond Jiyane, GCIS

Pretoria – President Jacob Zuma has on Monday launched the Presidential Press Corps or PPC, which will comprise journalists who will be accredited to cover the Presidency on a full time and on-going basis.

Members of the PPC comprise political editors, political correspondents, political reporters as as well economics journalists.

“The purpose of the PPC is to provide improved access to information by the media. It will also improve access by the media to the President and the Presidency as well as ensure that journalists obtain information not only on the daily activities of the President and the Presidency but also background information and processes, to enable a better understanding.

“The members will also receive briefings from the Deputy President and any Minister that the President invites to share programmes of national importance,” said Chief Operations Officer in the Presidency, Lakela Kaunda.

Issues discussed

At the inaugural meeting on Monday, President Zuma greeted the PPC members and gave them highlights of his programme for the rest of the month as well as expectations with regards to the forthcoming Budget Speech by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on Wednesday.

The President said the budget is a culmination of various discussions and decisions by the Cabinet, including consultations with leaders of government from other spheres of government.

“The content of the budget will also take into account engagements we have had with other stakeholders in society. The budget takes into account the difficult economic environment that we face.

“In the State of the Nation Address I announced some of the measures government is taking to address the challenges our economy faces. The Minister of Finance will announce additional measures, as well as the details of the measures I announced in the SONA,” he said.

President Zuma also informed members of the PPC that he would continue with his programme of convening important stakeholders in society to discuss both the economic challenges the country faces as well as to discuss ways in which partnerships with government can be forged to implement the National Development Plan.

He also informed the members of the PPC that the recently held African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, had appointed a high-level committee of five heads of state and government to visit Burundi to assist with addressing the political situation in that country.

President Zuma has been appointed as the convenor and leader of the panel. The visit to Burundi will take place on 25 and 26 February 2016.

The other members of the panel are Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania (North Africa region); Macky Sall of Senegal (West Africa region); Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon (Central Africa region), and Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia (Eastern Africa region).

The President also informed the PPC members that he received a telephone call from the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on the same matter of Burundi.

Expanding on his programme, President Zuma informed the meeting that his Working Visit to Burundi would be followed by his State Visit to Iran from 28 to 29 February 2016 to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries as well as a State Visit to Nigeria on 8-9 March 2016, at the invitation of President Muhammadu Buhari.

President Zuma is the first Head of State to be invited on a State Visit to Nigeria since the elections and inauguration of President Buhari.

“We trust that the establishment of the PPC will make journalists more informed with regards to the work we are doing as we transform our country. We look forward to lots of discussions and engagements with the PPC members,” said the President.

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