October 10, 2017 (JUBA) – Members of South Sudan’s national dialogue steering committee are currently in South Africa for a three-day retreat.
The over 20-member team is led by the committee’s co-chair, Angelo Beda.
The spokesperson for the delegation to South Africa said the team seeks learns from experiences of South African on how they managed their processes and differences, which saw an end to apartheid system in the country mainly dominated by the blacks.
“We will be meeting with the South Africans and a few other international personalities to discuss the national dialogue process and how it’s going and to try to learn from the experience of others and in the sense to sharpen the strategy of the national dialogue,” he said.
Several regional and international experts are expected at the retreat.
Deng, a former diplomat, did not, however, say whether the team will seek an audience with the rebel leader Riek Machar while in South Africa where he has been under house arrest since last year.
Meanwhile, other sources, as well as the delegation members, told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday that the team will ask the South African deputy president to arrange if they could talk to the rebel leader.
“We will not give up because there is nothing personal. Our interest in this process is to end the war and ensure there is peace so that people in the displaced camps and those who have fled the country returns to their homes so that they can resume their normal life and stability returns,” Deng told reporters in the capital, Juba.
He added, “So we will not stop, even if we did not succeed in the first trip. We will again try this time through the South Africa’s Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, who promised us last time [that] he [will] continues to encourage Riek Machar to participate in the national dialogue”.
Officially launched in May, the national dialogue is both a forum and process through which the people South Sudan shall gather to redefine the basis of their unity as it relates to nationhood, redefine citizenship and belonging, as well as restructure the state for national inclusion.
Since December 2013, tens of thousands of people have been killed and over two million displaced in South Sudan’s worst ever violence since its cessation from Sudan in July 2011.