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President Zuma launched the Presidential Press Corps

President Jacob Zuma has today, 22 February 2016, officially launched the Presidential Press Corps or PPC, which will comprise journalists who will be accredited to cover the Presidency on a full time and on-going basis.

Members of the PPC comprise political editors, political correspondents, political reporters as well economics journalists.

Said the Chief Operations Officer in the Presidency, Ms Lakela Kaunda: “The purpose of the PPC is to provide improved access to information by the media. It will also improve access by the media to the President and the Presidency as well as ensure that journalists obtain information not only on the daily activities of the President and the Presidency but also background information and processes, to enable a better understanding. The members will also receive briefings from the Deputy President and any Minister that the President invites to share programmes of national importance.”

At the inaugural meeting today, President Zuma came to greet the PPC members and gave them highlights of his programme for the rest of the month as well as the expectations with regards to the forthcoming Budget Speech by the Minister of Finance on Wednesday, 24 February 2016.

“The budget that will be presented by Minister Pravin Gordhan on Wednesday afternoon is a culmination of various discussions and decisions by the Cabinet, including consultations with leaders of government from other spheres of government. The content of the budget will also take into account engagements we have had with other stakeholders in society,” said President Zuma.

“The budget takes into account the difficult economic environment that we face. In the State of the Nation Address I announced some of the measures Government is taking to address the challenges our economy faces. The Minister of Finance will announce additional measures, as well as the details of the measures I announced in the SONA”, said President Zuma.

President Zuma also informed members of the PPC that he would continue with his programme of convening important stakeholders in society to discuss both the economic challenges the country faces as well as to discuss ways in which partnerships with government can be forged to implement the National Development Plan.

He also informed the members of the PPC that the recently held African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, had appointed a High-level Committee of five Heads of State and Government to visit Burundi to assist with addressing the political situation in that country. President Zuma has been appointed as the convenor and leader of the Panel. The visit to Burundi will take place on 25-26 February 2016.

The members of the Panel are as follows:

� His Excellency Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (North Africa region)

� His Excellency Jacob Zuma of the Republic of South Africa (Southern Africa region)

� His Excellency Macky Sall of the Republic of Senegal (West Africa region)

� His Excellency Ali Bongo Ondimba of the Republic of Gabon (Central Africa region), and

� His Excellency Hailemariam Desalegn of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (Eastern Africa region)

The President also informed the PPC members that he received a telephone call from the United Nations Secretary General on the same matter of Burundi.

Expanding on his programme, the President informed the meeting that his Working Visit to Burundi would be followed by his State Visit to Iran from 28 to 29 February 2016 to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries as well as a State Visit to the Federal Republic of Nigeria on 8-9 March 2016, at the invitation of His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari. President Zuma is the first Head of State to be invited on a State Visit to Nigeria since the elections and inauguration of President Buhari.

“We trust that the establishment of the PPC will make journalists more informed with regards to the work we are doing as we transform our country. We look forward to lots of discussions and engagements with the PPC members,” said the President.

Enquiries: Bongani Majola on 082 339 1993 or bonganim@presidency.gov.za

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa