November 29, 2016 (JUBA) - South Sudan’s President, Salva Kiir is on a visit to South Africa, amid reports of his deteriorating health situation.
- South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma (R) shakes hands with the visiting South Sudanese President Salva Kiir at his office in Pretoria on 24 October 2015 (Photo Moses Lomayat)
But the Minister for the Presidency, Mayiik Ayii Deng, said President Kiir was invited to South African by his counterpart, Jacob Zuma.
“The president of the republic is going for bilateral visit. He is responding to the invitation extended to him by the president of South Africa, his Excellency Jacob Zuma. It is therefore a very important visit. It will focus on bilateral matters and how the relations between the two countries could be strengthened,” stressed Deng.
“You know that South Africa is one of the countries which stood with our people during the war of liberation struggle and now it is playing another very important role in the peace process,” he added.
Despite the minister’s explanations, however, some government officials claimed President Kiir is in South Africa for medical reasons.
“The president will off course use the opportunity to go for routine checks. He was due for checks in October but he did not go because of other commitments”, a presidential source told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday.
The official, who asked not to be identified, downplayed the severity of the sickness, further saying it was just “a normal check for fitness”.