News / South Africa

Ngwako Modjadji
2 minute read
13 Feb 2017
6:39 pm

What Zuma spoke to Trump about

Ngwako Modjadji

The two presidents appear to have engaged in all the usual diplomatic niceties.

Donald Trump and Jacob Zuma.

US President Donald Trump may have raised the issue of corruption and instability on the African continent with President Jacob Zuma on Monday.

This was the reaction of political analysts on Monday, after Trump had a telephonic conversation with Zuma.

According to a brief statement released by the Presidency following the call, the two presidents reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening the already strong bilateral relations between the two countries.

“There are 600 US companies in South Africa and strong trade relations between the two countries.

“The two presidents also discussed the need to work together on multilateral issues, as well as especially the quest for peace and stability on the African continent,” the Presidency said, revealing no further details.

Trump requested the conversation. Since his inauguration last month, Trump has called several world leaders, including Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, whom Trump reportedly put the phone down on.

Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said Trump would not be confrontational to South Africa.

“He has been to his immediate neighbour, Mexico. Trump would want a cordial relationship with South Africa, because it is a gateway to Africa.”

Despite Trump being unpredictable and impatient, Mathekga said: “Let us hope he did not slam down the phone on Zuma.”

Another political analyst, Somadoda Fikeni, said the issue of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) may have come up during the discussion between the two leaders.

“Agoa is a trade agreement and Trump is reviewing everything,” Fikeni said.

There has been protracted “chicken war” between the US and South Africa for years.

Agoa came into effect in 2000 during former US president Bill Clinton’s administration.

According to Fikeni, Trump may have given assurance to Zuma that he would not abandon Africa.

“He would want to extract more investment for the US.”

Trump also reportedly spoke to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari earlier yesterday, who has gone on a 10-day holiday to the United Kingdom.

Trump’s phone call to Zuma set Twitter alight.

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