President Mnangagwa has congratulated newly-elected South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, saying Zimbabwe was looking forward to strengthening the existing good relations between the two neighbouring countries. In a message posted on micro-blogging site Twitter, President Mnangagwa wished Mr Ramaphosa well, saying his excellence and persistence earned him the leadership of his people.
“My very warmest congratulations to President Cyril Ramaphosa,” he said. “His excellence and persistence have now earned him the leadership of his people. Zimbabwe sends its very best wishes to him and his administration. We look forward to strengthening more our ties. Congratulations!”
Mr Ramaphosa (66) was elected after former President Jacob Zuma (76) officially resigned on Wednesday night during a special broadcast that was beamed live on television.
The embattled Mr Zuma bowed to pressure from his ANC party and opposition parties who wanted him to step down. Mr Zuma was due to complete his term of office next year. Former South African President Thabo Mbeki also congratulated Mr Ramaphosa, describing Mr Jacob Zuma’s resignation as a step in the right direction.
“I think (former) President (Jacob) Zuma did the right thing,” he was quoted as saying on SABC. “Once the leadership of the ANC took that position and in the context of what the majority of the population was saying, it was really time that he left office.
“Maybe he ought to have done it earlier so that the ANC was not forced to threaten a vote of no confidence and all that.”
Mr Mbeki, who was in 2008, recalled by the National Executive Committee of the ANC, said Mr Ramaphosa should work towards economic growth to deal decisively with poverty and the high unemployment rate. He said change was needed because corruption had become entrenched in all spheres of government under the leadership of Mr Zuma. The election of Mr Ramaphosa means that he becomes the sadc chairperson, a position that was held by former President Zuma, who had taken over the rotating chairmanship from King Mswati III of Swaziland.