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South Africa deputy president says admitting existence of problem part of solution

October 11, 2017 (PRETORIA)- The deputy South African president has told the visiting members of the steering committee of South Sudan national dialogue that recognizing the existence of the problem becomes part of the solution.

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Cyril Ramaphosa (File photo Reuters)

Cyril Ramaphosa, who was one of the key African National Congress (ANC) members in the negotiation team of the issues aimed at addressing the post-apartheid rule in South Africa, cited their own experience.

“The realization that we had a crisis as a country and that we needed to find a solution. That in itself was a major breakthrough. Sometimes you can live through problems and never realize that you have a problem; like someone who is ill and has lots of pains but doesn’t realize there is a real problem. That was when we began to develop the secret that got us to where we are. It was a collective realization that the country was in crisis,” Ramaphosa told South Sudanese officials currently in the country on Tuesday.

The Apartheid regime, he said, had also realized that it had a problem requiring a solution instead of military solution which both sides have had tried without success instead it was worsening the situation.

“Once that had happened, we were able to move forward. Both sides realized they could not defeat each other. Over time they both thought they’d defeat the other (the ANC thought that through MK it would make the country ungovernable, and the NP (government) had a picture in their heads that they would defeat the ANC and that the ANC would be brought to its knees). We also needed to have an honest assessment of ourselves. Once you realize you have that kind of crisis you have to lead from the front,” he explained.

The South African official expressed optimism that the current conflict in South Sudan would end if the problem is identified and recognized; saying many people around the world saw the South Africa crisis at the time as being intractable and thought this would never be solved.

“Many people saw South Africa crisis as intractable and that Nelson Mandela would stay in jail and the ANC would never be unbanned. But there was this commitment that led to the recognition that if we have a crisis we need to talk amongst ourselves; the problem was then resolved”, he pointed out.

South Sudan’s war, he said, was now intractable but it will end if the problem is identified and recognized.

“Your problem right now seems intractable. We have tried so much-IGAD, Arusha declaration etc. But we can solve this. I am a total believer that this is a crisis that can be solved. I come from a process that looked unsolvable. When we started our process, I always knew we would be successful. The same is true for Roelf. It requires that. It requires you as actors in this that this is going to be successful. You need to stay committed,” he said.