President Cyril Ramaphosa met up with Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on “the margins” of the African Union (AU) summit today, the presidency’s official Twitter account confirmed.
The pair shared a light moment as media photographed them.
“They always want to shoot us,” Ramaphosa said of the photographers.
“I hope they’re blanks”, was Mnangagwa’s reply.
[Photo gallery] President Cyril Ramaphosa meets with President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa on the margins of the second day of the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of African in Ethiopia. https://t.co/knx4SFckeg pic.twitter.com/04zuaZqXpL
— South African Government (@GovernmentZA) February 11, 2019
Ramaphosa’s reaction to the violent military crackdown protests over fuel hikes were met with in mid-January has been criticised.
Ramaphosa has called for sanctions against Zimbabwe to be lifted and has said his government is currently discussing a solution to the country’s ongoing economic crisis and resulting civil unrest, Reuters reports.
According to the president, Zimbabwe’s situation is a “challenge” for the whole of Africa.
He also said he planned to meet with Zimbabwe’s president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, later on.
The Citizen reported soon after that “many South Africans are concerned by the position the president has taken towards the present crisis.”
The Democratic Alliance (DA) lashed out against “the anemic response of the South African government to the violence and intimidation being carried out against civilians [which] is an abhorrent manifestation of the failed ANC policy of quiet diplomacy” on Zimbabwe, adding that it stands with the people of Zimbabwe.
“We must not tolerate the tepid statements of a government rendered ineffective in its foreign policy because of its own decision to consort with dictators across the continent rather than siding with civilians in desperate need of our support,” DA spokesperson on international relations Stevens Mokgalapa said.
It was reported on Saturday that Ramaphosa had arrived at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia to lead a high-level South African delegation at the 32nd ordinary session of the assembly of African Union heads of state and government meeting, the presidency said.
The session was scheduled to take place from February 10 to 11 under the theme “The year of refugees, returnees, and international displaced persons – towards durable solutions to forced displacement in Africa”, the presidency said in a statement.
“It presents an invaluable opportunity to reflect on and address the root causes of forced displacement in Africa,” it said.
The summit was expected to deliberate on a number of other issues, including the institutional reform and financing of the continental body; peace and security on the continent, developments related to the African continental free trade area, and negotiations for a new cooperation agreement between the African, Caribbean, and Pacific developing countries and the European Union post 2020.
(Additional reporting by ANA)