President Jacob Zuma arrived in Pretoria on an alternative flight this morning after his presidential jet, the Inkwazi, developed technical problems in Qatar, the Presidency said.
In February this year, while on a state visit to Burundi, the Inkwanzi developed technical problems, delaying President Zuma’s return home by a day.
“The aircraft used by the President, Inkwazi, developed technical problems in Qatar resulting in the use of an alternative aircraft to return to Pretoria,” said the Presidency in a statement.
Meanwhile, on arrival in South Africa today, Zuma headed for the centenary celebrations of the University of Fort Hare in the Eastern Cape, where he will be joined by other heads of state including Zimbabwe’s 92-year-old leader, Robert Mugabe.
“The State Visit to the State of Qatar was successfully concluded with the signing of several agreements and commitments, which further enhanced and elevated bilateral relations between the two countries to a strategic level,” said the Presidency.
Zuma and the Emir of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, witnessed the signing of the Agreement on Defence Cooperation, Agreement on Police Cooperation, and the Agreement on Cooperation in Arts, Culture and Heritage.
“In this regard, South Africa and Qatar agreed to establish a Joint Investment Committee to oversee the implementation of agreements, in addition to the structured bilateral consultations,” Zuma, whose visit began with Zuma’s interaction with the South Africa-Qatari Business Forum, said.
There is a large South African expatriate community in Qatar working in various sectors, as well as a number of South Africa companies including Nandos and Ocean Basket and, oil giant Sasol.
The visit also presented an opportunity for the two leaders to exchange views on the recent developments in the Middle East, including the Middle East Peace Process and the Palestine question.
The Presidency said Sheikh Al-Thani accepted an invitation from Zuma to visit South Africa.
Whilst in Doha, President Zuma paid a courtesy call on the Father Emir of the State of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani.
Zuma was accompanied by Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of Trade and Industry Dr Rob Davies, Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa.