Zuma takes 79 officials on Russia trip

President Jacob Zuma’s working visit to Russia in May cost about R956 000, while his visit to China during the 2014/15 financial year cost more than R800 000.

In his written replies to Parliament on Wednesday, President Zuma said for the Russian visit between 8 and 9 May, he was accompanied by 79 officials from the Presidency and other departments.

“Air travel costs incurred by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation and the Presidency amounted to R179 124.93, while the accommodation of the entire delegation costed R627 630.54. Ground transport costs were R149 893.67,” the President said in his written reply.

He went on to explain that his working visit to Russia was at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin to attend the 70th Anniversary of the Second World War.

“The visit was guided by South Africa’s bilateral relations with the Russian Federation, which are informed by political, economic, social, defence and security cooperation and all the relevant legal instruments and mechanisms that affirm the strategic relationship between the two countries.”

President Zuma said they held discussions on the margins of the event and among the issues were an assessment of bilateral cooperation, the status and implementation of SA-Russia ITEC (Joint Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Cooperation) Agreements and preparations for the 13th SA-Russia ITEC Session to be hosted by Russia later this year.

The two leaders also discussed preparations for the 7th BRICS Summit which was hosted by Russia from 8 to 9 July 2015.

“We agreed on the need to intensify cooperation in various areas.”

Turning to the China visit in December last year‚ the President said issues deliberated upon include a review of South Africa’s bilateral relations with China, the adoption of the Five-to-Ten Year Strategic Programme for Cooperation, China’s commitment to South Africa’s industrialisation agenda, development finance and request for an increase in training slots.

The visit also saw the two sides discussing the high level Forum on Africa and China meeting that will take place in South Africa in December 2015.

“Total costs related to the logistics of the visit‚ including accommodation and transport‚ were R834 868.64‚” the President said in his written reply.

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Zuma takes 79 officials on Russia trip