Range of opportunities for South Africans in South Sudan – ANC

2011-07-12 14:29

There is a range of opportunities for South Africans in the continent’s newest state, South Sudan, ANC chairwoman Baleka Mbete said today.

“I mean people in general. You will not know until you are in South Sudan that there is a space for you ... I most definitely want to encourage business people,” she told reporters at Luthuli House in Johannesburg.

Mbete described South Sudan’s independence day celebrations as “electrifying” and reminiscent of the birth of South Africa’s democratic nation in 1994.

She said the relationship between the ANC and the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLM) spanned decades.

Now that South Sudan’s government was looking at nation building, the ANC would see what it could do to contribute.

“We are now going to be sitting down and looking at what we should prepare ourselves to do.”

The ANC would start by helping the SPLM build party structures “on the ground”.

“That is the area we think we can be most helpful ... when a party gets into government and forgets the party itself ... it gets into problems,” Mbete said.

It was also important not to be discouraged by the problems the country faced and be distracted by the “prospects of war”.

Mbete expressed concern at overly negative media reports on South Sudan.

“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. Let’s find ways to help attain them.”

The country is in ruins after 50 years of conflict between southern rebels and the successive Sudanese governments.

German news agency DPA reported yesterday that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir had warned that tension could resurface in the oil-rich Abyei border region should the newly formed government of South Sudan fail to respect arrangements governing the area.

The country reportedly lacks basic infrastructure and is among the poorest in the world.

Mbete said one of the ANC’s major capacity-sharing projects with the SPLM involved sharing political and election experiences, and governance and administration experiences.

“The SPLM has attained its prime goal of independence.

“Now begins another critical and difficult phase of developing and restructuring of the SPLM from being a purely liberation movement.”

Mbete said an ANC task team on South Sudan would meet next week to discuss other ways in which the party could contribute to the new country’s development.

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