Deputy President concludes a historic Working Visit to South Sudan

Media Statement


31 August 2023


Deputy President concludes a historic Working Visit to South Sudan


Deputy President Paul Mashatile has concluded a successful Working Visit to the Republic of South Sudan. The purpose of the visit was to assess the latest developments and progress in the implementation of the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R–ARCSS), discuss challenges to the peace process, and discuss solutions with all stakeholders. A second, but critical objective of the Deputy President’s visit was to strengthen long-standing bilateral relations between South Africa and South Sudan.


During his visit, the Deputy President, as President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Special Envoy to South Sudan, met with His Excellency President Salva Kiir Mayardit. President Salva Kiir raised concern regarding the implications that the on-going conflict may have in neighbouring countries and the region at large. He outlined the challenges hindering the implementation of the R–ARCSS and reemphasised the need for South Africa to be more involved in the peace process by assisting the various parties to resolve their disputes.


Deputy President Mashatile also held talks with four of South Sudan’s five Vice Presidents: Dr Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon, Dr James Wani Igga, Mr Taban Deng Gai and Mr Hussein Abdelbagi.


In the main, the Vice Presidents acknowledged remaining gaps and challenges to the full implementation of the R–ARCSS including lack of required financial resources, the arms embargo and sanctions imposed on the Government of South Sudan by the United Nations (UN).


Despite this, the Vice Presidents also appreciated that notable milestones had been achieved on the road to lasting peace. A key milestone to the achievement of peace in South Sudan is the holding of the country’s first democratic elections since its independence in 2011. Holding this founding election is a goal whose importance is acknowledged by all the participants in South Sudan’s ongoing national dialogue.


Additionally, the Deputy President had engagements with various Ministers of state in charge of critical portfolios, such as Humanitarian Affairs; Information, ICT & Postal Services; Justice and Constitutional Affairs; as well as Cabinet Affairs and the High-Level Standing Committee for the Implementation of the R-ARCSS.


In addition to the South Sudanese stakeholders, Deputy President Mashatile held extensive consultations with regional and global multilateral formations with a role to play in resolving the conflict in the country.


Among these were the African diplomatic corps in Juba, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development-East Africa Regional Economic Community (IGAD); the Troika Ambassadors in South Sudan (United States, United Kingdom, Norway); the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC); and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).


Deputy President Mashatile commended South Sudan on the progress made thus far and reaffirmed South Africa’s support for the Revitalised Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGoNU).


Additionally, he called on strengthened commitment by the RTGoNU and all other relevant Parties to the R–ARCSS to implement its outstanding provisions, particularly the security arrangements. These include community disarmament, demobilisation of ex-combatants and their re-integration into peaceful civilian life, and the integration of remaining combatant forces into a national force with a single command structure, among others. Failure to find common ground on these and other contentious points will keep South Sudan in limbo, and its economic development as well as the development of its people will be stillborn.


During his three-day stay the Deputy President also took time to lay a wreath at the Dr John Garang Mausoleum in honour of South Sudan’s founding leader, and bestowed medals on the South African Police Service (SAPS) contingent stationed in the country as part of the UN Peacekeeping Mission.


In his last act before departure, the Deputy President paid a courtesy call on two of South Sudan’s Elders and veterans of liberation: Mr Abel Alier Kwai, and Mr Josephu Lagu. Deputy President Mashatile assured both of his and South Africa’s enduring commitment to the peace and reconciliation process in South Sudan.


In conclusion, Deputy President Mashatile made a call to all Parties to adhere to the revised deadlines of the roadmap to a peaceful and democratic end to the current transitional period and the holding of national elections by December 2024 as envisaged.


Media enquiries: Vukani Mde, Spokesperson to the Deputy President on 081 307 9233


Issued by: The Presidency