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South Sudan's freedom after five decades of struggle

This is the statement by ANC National Spokesperson Jackson Mthembu on the occasion of South Sudan's independence day celebrations on July 9.

South Sudan has emerged as the newest state in the world, 54th state in Africa and the UN's 193rd member state. This marks the formal attainment of freedom for the people of South Sudan, after over five decades of painful struggle, war and carnage that cost millions of lives and displaced many others and left them destitute.

On the occasion of the Republic of South Sudan's 9th July 2011 Independence Day Celebrations, the African National Congress (ANC) delegation led by its National Chairperson and former Deputy President of South Africa, Comrade Baleka Mbete, is in Sudan at the invitation of the Government of South Sudan and South Sudan's ruling party,  the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM).

The ANC and SPLM have historic good party-to-party relations forged over many years of heroic struggle for self-determination and freedom for the people of South Africa and South Sudan.

The 9th of July is a historic day for South Sudan's independence, as well as a reminder of the critical day the late fallen hero Comrade John Garang was sworn in as Sudan's Vice-President on 9th July 2005, as part of the negotiated North-South Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). 9 July also marks commemoration of 6 years of the CPA.

The ANC congratulates the SPLM and the people of South Sudan on their independence day for their courageous efforts and substantial advances to attain peace, dialogue and justice.

As part of our efforts to promote post-conflict reconstruction in Africa, one of our major projects is the ANC-SPLM capacity sharing project, which involves sharing political and election experiences, as well as governance and administration for a better South Sudan.

The ANC wishes the SPLM and people of South Sudan peace, justice and prosperity. We hope to intensify our joint work for a free and prosperous South Sudan and to continue to walk with you on the road to further development and democracy.

We applaud the South African government's support for the African Union High Level Implementation Panel for Sudan, as well as the African Union's Post-Conflict Reconstruction Committee for Sudan.

We call on all South Africans and the whole of Africa to forge strong solidarity and economic ties with the people of South Sudan in their ongoing journey for development, freedom and justice.

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