South Sudan's Machar on a private visit to SA
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation has dismissed media reports that South Sudan’s newly appointed First Vice President of Riek Machar is in the country on a diplomatic mission. “It is indeed correct that Dr Riek Machar is in South Africa on purely a private visit. There are no plans for Dr Riek Machar to meet with the South African authorities,” the Department said on Monday. Departmental spokesperson Nelson Kgwete said the South African authorities hope to meet with him in Juba, pursuant to the formation of the Government of National Unity (GNU). “The South African Government hopes that the GNU will soon be formed to start the process of healing the people of South Sudan who have suffered greatly in the recent past, due to an unnecessary war.” Machar, a rebel leader, was appointed earlier this month by President Salva Kiir Mayardit as stipulated in a peace deal signed last year. The peace deal signed by South Sudan's warring parties in August last year grants the current government a legislation majority, the presidency and 53 percent of ministerial portfolios. The deal also gives the rebels the position of first vice president and 33 percent of ministerial portfolios, while the remaining 14 percent goes to other opposition groups, excluding the Greater Upper Nile region of Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity States where 53 percent were allotted for the rebels and 33 for the current government. South Sudan plunged into violence in December 2013, with fighting erupting between troops loyal to President Kiir and defectors led by his former deputy Machar.