President Jacob Zuma has lauded former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s contribution to the fight for freedom.

Zuma was speaking during a state visit by Angolan President João Manuel Lourenço on Friday.

He said newly elected Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was sworn into office on Friday, assured him that Mugabe would be treated with dignity.

Mugabe and Zuma

“[We pay tribute] to former President Mugabe for his gallant contribution to the Southern African liberation struggles against colonialism and apartheid,” Zuma said.

“I met President Mnangagwa, on [Wednesday] before he returned to Zimbabwe. He assured us that former President Mugabe and his family will be treated with the greatest respect and dignity and that he and his family would be secure in Zimbabwe.”

Zuma said he and Mngangagwa had agreed that the SADC would forever remember and acknowledge Mugabe in the history of the liberation struggles of the continent.

He went on to congratulate Mnangagwa on being elected as president.
“We take this opportunity to congratulate President Mnangagwa and hope that with the support of the people of Zimbabwe, he will be able to steer the country successfully through this transition period.”

Zuma also warmly welcomed the Angolan leadership to SA.

“To us, this means a lot and it undoubtedly affirms the historical ties between Angola and South Africa. May I take this opportunity to once more congratulate you on your election and equally congratulate the people of Angola for conducting peaceful and democratic elections.”

He said that the holding of peaceful elections “affirms our collective commitment to democracy and rule of law on the continent”.

President Jacob Zuma (R) and Angolan President Joao Lourenco (L) give a press conference on in Pretoria. (Gianluigi Guercia, AFP)

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