Cape Town — As President Jacob Zuma took to the golf course today to raise funds for his education trust, he said he hoped to use the day to brush up on his golfing skills.
He joined other avid golfers at Atlantic Beach Golf Course, just outside Cape Town, for the Presidential Golf Change on Friday, The event is held annually the day after the State of the Nation Address.
Zuma delivered his sixth State of the Nation Address to a joint sitting of Parliament on Thursday evening.
Donations and proceeds from the event will go to the Jacob Zuma Education Trust, which the President chose as a beneficiary when he took office in 2009.
Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, Energy Minister Ben Martins, Eastern Cape Premier Noxolo Kiviet and United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa were among the people who were seen in their golf gear and ready to tee off.
Golf expert Mike Riley, who was coaching Zuma, said for someone who has not been on the golf course for more than a year, his first tee off was "pretty good" despite the windy conditions.
"The wind will make it difficult for the first couple of holes but as we get halfway through these nine holes, it's going to be nice and easy for him. But he looks pretty good - you can see he's a natural sportsman."
But there is more to the event than a game of golf, as Zuma told reporters earlier in the day.
"I think the contributions by the people who are participating in this event [will allow] us to attend to some of the challenges and help our children. The feedback we are getting is that the work we are doing is making an impact," Zuma said.
"It is indeed an important occasion. I feel very passionate about it. That is why I don't miss it. Whatever we do here must have an impact to those who are needy."
Zuma called on South Africans to use sport to achieve a healthy lifestyle, adding that sport can also play a role in uniting the country's people.
"Sport is very important. Besides the entertainment and the competitive spirit that it brings, you get healthier if you participate in sport. So I'm very happy that some ministers are here today to play."
Sisulu said the golf challenge continued to make a positive impact on various charities.
"It was agreed that government ... sponsor this initiative and ask the participants to contribute to some of the charity initiatives our President is involved in. In this instance, our President is involved in a charity that provides scholarships."