PRETORIA - South Africa’s president said his country is prepared to share its own experience with the US on how it managed to achieve a peaceful transition during the dawn of its democracy in the 1990s.
“I was rather pleased to hear one of them [US leaders] say they have a lot to learn from even Nelson Mandela’s South Africa,” Cyril Ramaphosa told public broadcaster SABC in an interview Saturday.
“If they would like to learn something from us, we are ready to provide them with our own experience and how we were able to navigate a very difficult situation that confronted us at the dawn of democracy,” said Ramaphosa, who is also chair of the African Union, speaking in his capacity as president of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party.
South Africa attained democracy in 1994 after the end of apartheid or white minority rule, holding its first multi-racial elections that saw a landslide victory for the ANC.
The new parliament then elected ANC leader and national liberation hero Nelson Mandela as the country’s first black president. The nascent democracy faced many hurdles but managed to overcome them.
Ramaphosa said recent violent protests in the US capitol Washington, D.C. shook the foundations of that country’s democracy.
“What happened in the US the other day, which shocked people around the world, including ourselves, is a matter that they have to deal with,” Ramaphosa said, referring to the protests that erupted when supporters of US President Donald Trump stormed a session of Congress held to certify the election of Joe Biden as president.
“When one reads news reports and watches television, they [US leaders] are in the process of dealing with that. All we can say is that we wish them the best as they seek to bring stability to their own democracy because what happened shook the foundations of their democracy and indeed shocked so many people around the world,” Ramaphosa said.
“We wish them luck and very well. They’ve got to handle it in terms of their own Constitution and own processes.”
Ramaphosa also responded to a reporter’s question on allegations that some African countries were trampling on peoples’ rights under the guise of enforcing COVID-19 health regulations.
“We deplore any form of trampling of human rights, be it press freedom, freedom of movement, freedom of speech. We deplore that and condemn it in the strongest terms wherever it happens on our continent. That’s what South Africa stands for,” he said.
Some African countries holding elections are allegedly stopping their opponents from freely campaigning, while some opposition politicians are often harassed and detained for allegedly faulting COVID-19 health regulations.
Ramaphosa said the African Union and South Africa want to see democracy asserting its roots deep on the continent because human rights are very important.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.