President Jacob Zuma. Picture: REUTERS
President Jacob Zuma. Picture: REUTERS

President Jacob Zuma is due to embark on a “charm offensive” this week at the United Nations General Assembly as he campaigns for South Africa's third turn as a non-permanent member of the Security Council.

Zuma and his delegation‚ which includes at least seven cabinet ministers‚ were scheduled to arrive in New York on Sunday for a busy schedule of speeches‚ meetings and negotiations.

Zuma and the ministers of international relations‚ defence and state security will focus on securing South Africa a seat on the Security Council for 2019/2020.

“South Africa will be in a lobbying mood and will be going on some kind of charm offensive‚” said Mahlatse Mminele‚ deputy permanent representative for the South African mission to the United Nations.

Zuma's first order of business on Monday will be taking part in a high-level discussion on sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeeping troops.

Mminele said Zuma was one of a few heads of state invited to attend the event.

South Africa is one of the top 10 countries in terms of troop contribution and some members of the SA National Defence Force have been implicated in cases of sexual assault in foreign countries.

“We have managed to turn a corner and have become a very good example‚” Mminele said.

Zuma is also due address the General Assembly and will attend a reception hosted by Secretary General Antonio Guterres for heads of state and their spouses.

On Wednesday‚ Zuma will be one of 16 heads of state at a luncheon with United States President Donald Trump. All eyes will be on Trump‚ who will be attending the United Nations for the first time.

South Africa will also host a dinner honouring Oliver Tambo‚ to which anti-apartheid activists like Jesse Jackson have been invited.


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