I have just returned from Juba, South Sudan last night. I led an ANC delegation which attended Republic of South Sudans 9th July Independence Day celebrations.
It was a delightful moment for our delegation that reminded us of our own 27 April 1994 - Freedom Day - and 10 May 1994 when Comrade Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as the first president of the democratic and free South Africa.
The 9th of July 2011 was a historic day for South Sudans independence, as well as a reminder of that significant day in the evolution of the peace process in Sudan when the late fallen hero and champion of the Sudanese peoples struggle, Comrade John Garang, was sworn in as Sudans Vice-President on 9 July 2005. This was part of the negotiated North-South Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
Saturday, 9th July 2011 also marked the commemoration of 6 years of the CPA. We commend both North and South Sudan for the spirit in which the CPA has been implemented and we will continue to work with them to ensure that all outstanding matters related to the CPA are resolved.
Once again, on behalf of the ANC, I congratulate the SPLM and the people of the Republic of South Sudan on their independence and a path to lasting peace and development.
The ANC and SPLM have historic good party-to-party relations forged over many years of heroic struggle for self-determination and freedom for the people of South Africa and South Sudan.
Since the founding of the SPLM (1983), we shared a common vision for a democratic, non-racial and non-sexist society. Our leaders regularly exchanged ideas on a programme for a better progressive world and to free our people from enslavement and oppression.
We also shared offices in the dark days of our struggle against apartheid. For example, in Harare, the ANC and SPLM shared the same offices. After 1994, the ANC handed over its offices and property to the SPLM.
In the build up to the negotiated landmark Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005, the ANC shared the ANCs experiences of dialogue, compromise and where we could have done better in crafting a negotiated settlement for a brighter South Africa.
There has been a lot of engagements between the SPLM and ANC, the following key events unfolded:
- 2005: witnessed the evolution of the ANC-SPLM Memorandum of Understanding at Luthuli House, Johannesburg. The ANC delegation was led by then Comrade Deputy President Jacob Zuma and the SPLM delegation was led by its Secretary-General, Comrade Pagan Amum.
- 2005: Comrade Collins Chabane, now Minister in the Presidency, attended the inauguration of Comrade John Garang as First Vice President of Sudan.
- 2005: Comrades Kgalema Motlanthe and Nkosazana Dlamini- Zuma attended the funeral of the late Comrade John Garang.
- 2005: Visit of the SPLM leadership delegation to the ANC Headquarters, Luthuli House, led by SPLM Chairman and now President of the Republic of South Sudan, Comrade Salva Kiir Mayardit. Comrade Kgalema Motlanthe led the ANC delegation on sharing our particular experiences.
- 2009: Comrade Kgalema Motlanthe visited Khartoum and Juba to further share political experiences and to receive updates on the developments since the signing of the CPA.
- 2010: Comrade Collins Chabane led an ANC delegation to Juba on sharing political and election experiences and to help SPLM prepare for their first ever elections.
- 2010: ANC further dispatched an ANC election team to assist the SPLM on the first national and state elections where the SPLM participated.
- 2010: ANC National Chairperson Comrade Baleka Mbete led a delegation to Khartoum and Juba prior to Sudans referendum. This ANC delegation met with Northern and Southern political parties in Khartoum and Juba.
- 2010-2011: ANC delegation assisted SPLM and observed South Sudans 9 January 2011 referendum in all 10 South Sudanese states, except Unity State.
- 2010: ANC established the ANC NEC Sudan Task Team to advance the ANCs work in Sudan.
- 2010: ANC National General Council took a resolution, encouraging the South African government to appoint a Special Envoy for Sudan. Shortly thereafter, Comrade President Jacob Zuma appointed Comrade Charles Nqakula as South Africas Envoy to Sudan.
- 2011: Comrade Collins Chabane led an ANC delegation to Juba to ascertain the latest challenges facing the SPLM. We are working together to resolve those challenges.
As part of our efforts to promote post-conflict reconstruction in Africa, one of the ANCs major projects is the ANC-SPLM capacity sharing project. This project involves sharing political and election experiences, as well as governance and administration experiences for a better South Sudan.
In this respect, we plan to respond to the SPLM Secretary-Generals request for additional sharing of experiences of party development and governance. The ANC NECs Sudan Task Team will apply its mind to this urgent request on its meeting on Monday 18th July 2011 as part of our mission to advance a progressive African agenda.
As you are aware, the SPLM has attained its prime goal of independence. Now begins another critical and difficult phase of developing and re-structuring of the SPLM from being a purely liberation movement.
Please allow me to express our concern on the media reporting on South Sudan, particularly the international media - which over emphasises the negative, as opposed to the positive and abundant possibilities. Let us focus on the prospects of North Sudan living peacefully beside South Sudan, along Africas longest border (1000 km) between South and North Sudan.
In conclusion, I call on the media (both local and international) to properly inform people about many opportunities that exist in South Sudan. People there have hopes and aspirations that we share. Lets find ways to help attain them.
We again wish the SPLM and people of South Sudan peace, justice and prosperity. We are going to intensify our joint work for a free and prosperous South Sudan and to continue to walk with the SPLM on the road to further development and democracy.
ANC National Chairperson
African National Congress
Chief Albert Luthuli House
+27 82 880 8603