South African president postpones meeting with AU commissioners due to COVID-19 epidemic

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks during the opening of the 33rd African Union (AU) summit of heads of state and government at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Feb. 9, 2020. (Photo by Michael Tewelde/Xinhua)

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his capacity as Chair of the African Union (AU), has requested a postponement of a meeting with AU commissioners due to COVID-19 epidemic, his office said on Tuesday.

The president’s request arises from the priority he is giving to South Africa’s national response to the pandemic, Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko said.

The president is leading the National Command Council which meets three times a week to coordinate the multisectoral response to the novel coronavirus, said Diko.

The tally of South Africa’s confirmed COVID-19 cases has rocketed to 62 since March 5, the sharpest surge in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Ramaphosa’s meeting with AU commissioners had been scheduled for March 19 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to deal with the AU program of work for the current year and would have been the president’s first meeting with AU commissioners since assuming the Chair in February 2020.

The AU commissioners support Ramaphosa in running the AU Commission and have the responsibility to implement all decisions, policies and programs across eight portfolios that include peace and security, political affairs, social affairs, trade and industry, and human resources, science and technology, Diko said. Enditem

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