Presidency on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s public programme for the week

Good afternoon and welcome to this week’s update on the President’s programme.

In view of our observance of May as Africa Month, it is important to note the African focus of the President’s calendar in the coming days.

The programme over the coming days comes on the back of the President’s meeting last week with the National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council as well as his sixth District Development Model Presidential Imbizo which was held in Paarl.

Residents from all over the Cape Winelands District Municipality took the opportunity to raise with the President, Ministers as well as the provincial and local government leadership of the Western Cape issues that are pertinent to their daily lives and the economic sustainability and prosperity of the district.


Tomorrow, 23 May, President Ramaphosa will undertake a Working Visit to the Kingdom of Lesotho for the launch of Phase 2 of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project.

His Majesty King Letsie III, President Ramaphosa and Lesotho’s Prime Minister, Samuel Ntsokoane Matekane, will jointly launch this project at the Polihali Dam.

The launch will commence with a sod-turning ceremony and will be followed by formal programme.

The launch is a critical step on the journey to greater water and energy security for South Africans and Basotho, and is a demonstration of the strong relations between our two countries.

It is also a demonstration of the human capital and technology we are able to share and deploy jointly as neighbours in the interest of improving the lives of citizens and economic development in both nations.

South Africa and the Kingdom of Lesotho share a close historic relationship whose substance today entails strengthened economic cooperation between our two countries.

The Working Visit aims to reinforce this relationship in which South Africa and Lesotho are pursuing the common interests of developing the region, creating employment and advancing innovation and technology.

The Lesotho Highlands Water Project is a partnership between South Africa and Lesotho dating back to a treaty agreed upon by the two governments to supply water to the Vaal River System, which ensures water security for Gauteng, the Free State, the Northern Cape and the North West.

The binational infrastructure project involves the construction of a network of tunnels and the dams to transfer water from the Orange-Senqu River in the Lesotho Highlands to South Africa, and to use the water delivery system to provide hydro-electric power to the Kingdom of Lesotho.

Phase 1 of the project was completed 20 years ago, in 2003.

The water transfer component of Phase 2 comprises a 165-metre high concrete-faced rock fill dam at Polihali, downstream of the confluence of the Khubelu and Senqu (Orange) Rivers.

This development will also feature a 38-kilometre, concrete-lined gravity tunnel connecting the Polihali reservoir to the Katse reservoir.

A number of meetings of Ministers and Senior Officials are taking place to prepare for tomorrow’s launch and to deliberate on water and energy cooperation.

These activities are also a precursor to the hosting in Pretoria of the inaugural session of the South Africa-Lesotho Binational Commission. A date for the inaugural session is being firmed up through diplomatic channels.

President Ramaphosa will be accompanied by Minister of Water and Sanitation Mr Senzo Mchunu; Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Mr Gwede Mantashe; Minister of Electricity Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, and Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Alvin Botes.

The launch will take place at 13h00 tomorrow at the Polihali Dam in Malingoaneng.


On Wednesday, 24 May, the President will chair a regular meeting of Cabinet, the outcomes of which will be communicated by Minister in the Presidency Ms Khumbudzo Ntshavheni on a date that will be announced by GCIS.


Africa Month is one of several themed months – such as Freedom Month and Youth Month – which are coordinated by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture.

Africa Month 2023 has been themed “Deepening the AU Vision for Unity, Prosperity and Modernity for a Better Africa and a Better World”.

On Thursday, 25 May, South Africa will once again join the nations of our continent in celebrating Africa Day as the day on which we commemorate the establishment of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) 60 years ago, and its transformation 20 years ago into the African Union.

Africa Day is a day that focuses our consciousness on the development of our continent, regional integration, the opportunities offered by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, and the human, cultural and natural treasures of Africa.

For the President, the day will have personal significance as it will mark four years since his Inauguration as the fifth democratically elected President of a free and democratic South Africa.

The President will deliver the keynote address at the national Africa Day celebrations at the Cradle of Humankind on Thursday, 25 May.

South Africa is honoured that the Chairperson of the Southern African Development Community His Excellency President Felix-Antoine Tshisekedi and Chairperson of the African Union Commission His Excellency President Azali Assoumani will deliver messages of support virtually at the event where cultural performances and other activities will also take place.

The programme will start at 9.30, with the President due to speak around 11h20.


On Monday, 29 May 2023, President Ramaphosa will honour an invitation to attend the Inauguration of President-Elect Mr Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

President Ramaphosa will join a number of his continental counterparts who will be in attendance at this occasion.

The President’s participation will demonstrate continuity in the strategic relationship between South Africa and Nigeria.

Nigeria is South Africa’s biggest trade partner in West Africa. A broad range of South African firms have invested in Nigeria, while Nigerian companies are also developing a footprint in South Africa.


On Wednesday, 31 May, the President will address the National Assembly on key interventions and programmes of the Presidency, including addressing the electricity crisis and growing an inclusive economy.

The President will do so as part of presenting the Presidency Budget Vote for 2023/24, which will be debated by Members of Parliament. The President will reply to this debate on Thursday, 1 June.

The President will outline progress recorded during the past financial year in relation to commitments set out in the February 2022 and 2023 State of the Nation Addresses.

At the apex of the Executive arm of the State, The Presidency is the centre of coordination, oversight and supervision across all spheres of government.

The Presidency supports the President and Deputy President in execution of their primary responsibilities to uphold, defend and respect the Constitution of the Republic and to advance social cohesion, among other programmes.

President Ramphosa will underline his vision for a South Africa characterised by inclusive growth and improved living conditions for all South Africans.


The National Assembly and National Council of Provinces adopted the Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill which amends Section 6 of the Constitution.

The amendment includes South African Sign Language as an official language to promote the rights of persons who are deaf and hard of hearing.

The President welcomes this amendment as it deepens inclusivity and diversity in our country.

Among other objectives, the amendment prohibits unfair discrimination on the ground of disability, as guaranteed by Section 9 of the Constitution.

The bill was received last week having been passed by the NCOP on the 16th of May 2023. The bill is now being processed by the Presidency legal team.


President Cyril Ramaphosa noted the decision of the Constitutional Court dated 1 March 2023 in which the Court decided not to engage with the merits of the application that he instituted to set aside the report of the independent panel established by the National Assembly in terms of section 89 of the Constitution (the Panel Report). In the first part of the President’s review application, he sought leave to bring the case directly to the Constitutional Court, because it was – according to the advice he received – a matter that fell within its exclusive jurisdiction, and in the interests of justice. In the second part, he asked that the report of the panel be reviewed, declared unlawful and set aside.

The Constitutional Courts decision was on the grounds that the application is not within the Court’s exclusive jurisdiction and no compelling case for direct access was made. The President respects the ruling of the Constitutional Court.

The President has been advised – which advice he has accepted – that the Panel Report and all issues associated with it have become moot and they are of no practical and legal consequence because on 13 December 2022, the National Assembly decided to reject the motion to refer the Panel Report to an Impeachment Committee. While that decision remains valid, the Section 89 Panel Report carries no weight in law. The President has thus been advised not to institute proceedings before the High Court for the review and setting aside of the Panel Report, at this stage. President Ramaphosa reserves his right to bring such proceedings in due course should circumstances change.

The President maintains his position set out in his founding affidavit before the Constitutional Court that the Panel Report is reviewable in law on several grounds including the misconception of its mandate, the grave errors of law, and the unfounded conclusions of fact.

Source: Government of South Africa




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