President Cyril Ramaphosa sends condolences to the people of Burundi
President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed his sadness on Wednesday at the passing of outgoing Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza.
Nkurunziza's death, which came after Burundi concluded a peaceful electoral process to elect his successor, was announced by the country's government on Tuesday, which added that the president had died at the age of 55 after a “short illness”.
In a statement, Ramaphosa expressed his sincere condolences to the government and people of Burundi at the loss of the leader who served as the second democratically elected president and the first president after the country's civil war.
“Burundi and all of Africa have lost a leader who was devoted to people-centred sustainable development, self-reliance, the sovereignty of his people and country, as well as peace on the continent,” Ramaphosa said. “It was under the leadership of President Nkurunziza that Burundi became one of the major troop contributing countries in the AU Mission in Somalia. Burundi also deployed troops in the Central African Republic”, Ramaphosa added.
Ramaphosa recalled the “sound bilateral relations between South Africa and Burundi, under which South Africa played a key role in the AU-led Burundi peace process”, which led to the signing of the Arusha Peace Accords in 2000.
He also recalled the last state visit undertaken by Nkurunziza to SA in November 2014, where a number of bilateral agreements were signed.
These were, among others, a joint commission of co-operation, cultural co-operation and a decision to establish a joint business council.
Ramaphosa called on the people of Burundi to maintain calm and peace after Nkurunziza's death and in the aftermath of the recently concluded presidential, legislative and municipal elections.