South Africa’s deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa as decried the “wasteful” war and violence, which has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions in South Sudan.
“The war has destroyed the country and the economy. For that reason our commitment to solving the crisis in SS [South Sudan] must also be irrevocable. War breeds hatred; it breaks down nations and makes people hate one another and it makes it difficult to engender reconciliation,” Ramaphosa told South Sudan’s national dialogue steering committee members at a retreat held in South Africa on Tuesday.
“So it is important that the commitment to reconciliation be irrevocable,” he added.
Members of South Sudan’s national dialogue steering committee, led by the committee’s co-chair, Angelo Beda were in South Africa for a three-day retreat.
The South African government, its deputy president stated, has decided to consciously to deploy as many resources as possible for the people of South Sudan, including sharing their own experiences.
“Our bonds with SS [South Sudan] are deep and we remain hopeful that SS [South Sudan] will recover,” he said.
Ramaphosa, who intends to write a book, said it was important to know who the protagonists to the conflict are for it to be resolved.
“These are the entities that must sit down and negotiate this peace. These must not be lovey good-feeling interlocutors; rather they must be those who have been at each other’s throats and who must sit down and negotiate their peace,” said the South African official.
But he said that the process must be underlined by trust and respect.
“Without trust there will be no way of resolving the problems and the challenges. Trust has to be built. Leaders must respect one another in their leadership positions and what they represent,” he stressed.
Ramaphosa, also the deputy chairman of the South Africa’s ruling party (ANC), said he is optimistic the South Sudan crisis will be solved.
“I come from a process that looked unsolvable. When we started our process, I always knew we would be successful,” he stressed, but called for commitment from South Sudanese leaders involved in the country’s peace process.
Officially launched in May, the national dialogue is both a forum and process through which the people South Sudan shall gather to redefine the basis of their unity as it relates to nationhood, redefine citizenship and belonging, as well as restructure the state for national inclusion.
Since December 2013, tens of thousands of people have been killed and over two million displaced in South Sudan’s worst ever violence since its cessation from Sudan in July 2011.