Sotyu spoke at the centenary celebrations of North Korea, held at the North Korean embassy in Pretoria.
“You and your fellow countrymen rightly so regard [Kim Il Sung] as the father of the nation, and you will thus forever revere him as your president.
“We also have our own father of the nation, the first democratically elected president of a democratic Republic of South Africa, Mr Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela.
“I am pleased to say proudly that these similarities I have just mentioned of these two great nations extend beyond symbolic boundaries or gestures.
They are deeply embedded in our existence and our history as respective nations.
South Africans will be forever indebted to the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea], because it was under the leadership of Kim Il Sung when your country provided us, the ANC, with all possible material and mental support during our struggle for freedom, to overturn and overcome the tyranny of the apartheid regime,” she said.
North Korea is a totalitarian regime built on the cult personality of Kim Il Sung and his family.
It has developed a nuclear programme, which it frequently threatens to use against South Korea.
Its population was hard hit by famine during the 1990s.
Sotyu said South Africa and North Korea had a meaningful relationship despite the fact that South Africa has no dedicated ambassador in the North Korean capital Pyongyang. The South African ambassador in China is also responsible for North Korea.
Since the advent of democracy the ANC has not publicised its relationship with North Korea, and the department of international relations and co-operation shied away from comment on the latest set of missiles launched by the country.
“We have a ceremonial relationship with them, but actually we want nothing to do with them.
"We have nothing to gain from a relationship with North Korea, so we just keep quiet and hope no one asks us about it,” an official in the department told City Press.
But Sotyu seems to have a different view.
“South Africa is hopeful the newly elected first secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, His Excellency Kim Jong Un, will continue in partnership with our government leaders to build on these diplomatic relations started by the great leader president Kim Il Sung, and to expand and strengthen on the agreements that the DPRK has with departments such as sport and recreation and cultural affairs.
“Both South Africa and the DPRK share fundamental values of revolutionary principles for liberation, people’s welfare and sovereignty of people and country.”
“As our respective countries are both member states of the UN, South Africa and the DPRK must continue with vigour to use that platform to reach out to each other.”