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S.African foreign minister to attend Kabila inauguration

Published on 19/12/2011

South Africa's foreign affairs minister will attend the inauguration of Democratic Republic of Congo president-elect Joseph Kabila on Tuesday, according to a ministry statement.

“The South African Government extends its sincere congratulations to President-elect, Mr Kabila Kabange, on his election. In this regard, the South African Government wishes to reaffirm its desire to further enhance its strong relations with the DRC,” the South African department of international relations and cooperation said in a statement Monday.

Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana Mashabane would represent the country at Kabila’s inauguration in Kinshasa.

South Africa was committed to “continue working with the Government and the people of the DRC with a strong emphasis on … rapid development in existing and new bilateral projects.”

Kabila won the controversial 28 November-poll with 48.95 percent, against 32.33 percent for veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi. Tshisekedi has rejected the result and on Sunday proclaimed himself president-elect.

The United States and European Union also called into question the vote, but South Africa accepted the results that will keep Kabila in power for another five years.

The continental power was a key player in bringing peace to the DRC in 2003. It finally enjoyed the fruit of its labours with the hasty signing of a series of bilateral agreements between South African President Jacob Zuma and Kabile on the eve of the vote.