Cape Town – The African National Congress (ANC) is reportedly planning to send its deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa to mediate in war-torn South Sudan in response to a request by President Salva Kiir to President Jacob Zuma.
According to the Mail and Guardian, the development would help strengthen party-to-party relations with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).
Fighting erupted in South Sudan in mid-December between two factions of the army - troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and those who supported his former deputy Riek Machar, himself a seasoned guerrilla fighter.
It quickly spread throughout the country as the rebels, under the nominal command of Machar, joined forces with ethnic militia.
A ceasefire agreement in January failed to put an end to the fighting, in which thousands have died and almost 900 000 have been forced to flee their homes.
A member of the ANC National Executive Committee's international relations sub-committee said the ANC agreed to help the SPLM because of a strong relationship shared between the two parties.
The ANC trained and assisted the SPLM when they were holding an independence referendum and also assisted with political education, said the report.
The ANC’s intervention in South Sudan was set to strengthen Ramaphosa’s
political profile on the continent as he is billed to become South
Africa's deputy state president after this year's elections.