South Africa: UAE President, Entourage Land Quietly In South Africa at East Cape Province Military Base

Cape Town — The Bulembu Airport near Bisho in the Eastern Cape, which was decomissioned in the 1990s, has had a U.S.$1 million (R20 million) makeover, paid for by the United Arab Emirates President, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, according to news4 reports. The makeover includes the extension of the runway to accommodate their planes, as well as  additional renovations to the airport building, including the installation of a generator.

The upgrades enabled the UAE leader and 500 of his royal entourage, staff and artists to have easy access to a lodge he owns, where they will celebrate the end of Ramadaan, the month-long Muslim fast, on Saturday, April 22, 2023.

Bulembu Airport is a former military base that is occupied by the SA military’s airborne infantry unit and the SAPS Airwing, News24 writes.

Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane applied to the Department of Home Affairs to declare Bulembu Airport a port of entry for the UAE visitors to land directly from their country.

The visit follows on from Mabuyane’s March 2023 visit to the UAE, to look into trade and investment opportunities, as well as potential cooperation in renewable and green energy, oil and gas, manufacturing, agro-processing, and industrialisation.

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