Port Elizabeth - President Jacob Zuma will not attend the launch of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children at the Nelson Mandela University's Missionvale Campus on Saturday morning, News24 reported.
The Presidency initially sent out an advisory on Friday that Zuma would launch the campaign.
However in a brief statement at around 10:30 on Saturday morning, the Presidency said Zuma would be now be represented at the launch by the Minister in the Presidency responsible for Women, Susan Shabangu.
No reasons were given as to his absence.
Attempts to contact Presidency spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga were unsuccessful.
Gates to the campus opened at 07:00, and the event was scheduled to begin at 09:00, with it being broadcast nationally.
By 09:00 though, the hall was still empty with only a handful of people in attendance. By 11:00, the hall was still less than a quarter full, with an estimated 500 people in attendance, including performers, out of the hall's occupancy of 3,900.
Facilities have also been provided for an additional 1,500 people outside.
According to sources, around 30 buses and 30 taxis were being mobilised to collect people and bring them to the event, but attendance was still poor by 11:00, two hours after the event was to start.
The theme for 2017's campaign is, "Count me in: together moving a non-violent South Africa forward". With 2017 also being the Year of late former ANC President Oliver Reginald Tambo, the sub-theme for the campaign was: "OR Tambo and the emancipation of women."
This year marks the 19th anniversary of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children campaign in South Africa.
The campaign focuses on raising awareness of the negative impact of violence on women and children, as well as on society as a whole.
It is also focused on seeking prevention interventions to the on-going violence perpetrated on women and children.