South African Deputy President Paul Mashatile says he had a fruitful discussion on Tuesday with South Sudan’s First Vice President and leader of South Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in Opposition, Dr Riek Machar.
“I just completed a very fruitful discussion with Vice President, Dr Riek Machar, where we discussed a number of important issues that will allow South Sudan to move forward in the implementation of the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS),” he said.
Machar received Mashatile and his accompanying delegation in the capital, Juba.
The Deputy President is in South Sudan on behalf of President Cyril Ramaphosa, as a Special Envoy to track the implementation of R-ARCSS and to assist in resolving the challenges that may hinder free and fair elections at the end of the transitional period.
The Deputy President noted some of the concerns raised by the Vice President, among others, the issues of refugees and the country’s permanent Constitution.
“We’ve agreed that we will look into the issues that they have raised. But a commitment to move forward to complete the peace process and have the election is agreed to… The Vice President is committed to ensuring that we achieve this within the timeframes that have been agreed upon, which is February 2025 to have the election,” Mashatile said.
However, according to South Africa’s second-in-command, there is a need for the country to assist South Sudan in resolving some of those challenges.
“I will be meeting with the President to further discuss the issues. But I’m very confident that with the kind of discussions we had, we will be able to resolve most of the issues and able to complete the peace process and have a successful, and free and fair elections within the timeframe,” he added.
A power-sharing agreement was signed between the South Sudanese warring parties in August 2018 in a bid to end the country’s five-year civil war.