South African President Jacob Zuma has cancelled at the last minute a visit to London set for Monday, with one newspaper claiming he was throwing a “tantrum” because Prime Minister David Cameron was snubbing him.
Zuma’s office denied Sunday that any pique lay behind the unexpected cancellation of a visit to attend an investment conference, calling the report by the City Press newspaper “incorrect and mischievous”.
However, it offered no explanation beyond saying that Zuma believed four of his ministers going to the event “will represent the country well as they have done each year”.
The website for the innovaBRICS conference late Sunday still featured Zuma as its opening keynote speaker.
The invitation-only event, to be held all day Monday in London, promotes investment in leading emerging economies. South Africa is the lead sponsor of the conference, through its state-funded marketing agency Brand South Africa.
The City Press daily claimed that Zuma pulled out “after Britain refused to grant him an official audience with Prime Minister David Cameron,” and fobbed him off instead with a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
The newspaper called it a “royal tantrum” by Zuma.
Britain’s foreign office gave no insight into the sudden cancellation.