The South African Government has noted the report in the Sunday Times, dated 20 February 2011, entitled "Zuma clips Mbeki's wings". The South African Government wishes to clarify factual misconceptions in the article.

The African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC) at its 142nd meeting held on 21 July 2008, called for the formation of an AU High‐Level Panel on Darfur (AUPD), chaired by former President Mbeki and comprising of a team of experts and other eminent African personalities such as former Interim President of Nigeria, General Abdusalami Abubakar and former President of Burundi, Pierre Buyoya. This decision was subsequently endorsed by the 12th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union held from 1 to 3 February 2009. The original mandate of former President Mbeki as chair of the AUPD was to undertake an in-depth study of the situation in Darfur and submit recommendations on how best to effectively and comprehensively address the conflict in this region of Sudan. Through a series of broad consultations with both the Sudanese and international stakeholders, the AUPD completed its work in October 2009 and formally submitted its report to the AU Commission, which included sound recommendations on how issues of peace, justice and reconciliation could be addressed in Darfur.  The AU subsequently endorsed these recommendations and extended former President Mbeki's mandate to chair the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) on Sudan, which sought to effect the recommendations made by the AUPD.

In June 2010, the partners to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) agreed that the negotiations over the outstanding post-referendum issues should be facilitated by the AUHIP, led by former President Mbeki and supported by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD). Whilst the January 2011 referendum on self-determination of Southern Sudan was held peacefully and resulted overwhelmingly in favour of the secession of South Sudan, the post-referendum issues have yet to be agreed upon by the parties to the CPA.

Former President Mbeki's mandate has therefore not come to an end as a result of the referendum, and his work of facilitating the outstanding post-referendum issues such as the status of the Abyei region in Sudan, the sharing of assets and liabilities between the North and South, citizenship, oil-sharing, border demarcation, and the status of international agreements, have yet to be completed. These issues are expected to be resolved by 7 July 2011, when, in terms of the CPA, South Sudan will declare its independence. Once the AUHIP has fulfilled its role, the African Union will review the mandate of former President Mbeki.

South Africa is fully supportive of the role that former President Mbeki plays as chair of the AUHIP in facilitating these fragile post-referendum issues and is also committed to supporting the role of the AUHIP in resolving the situation in Darfur.

For further information please contact: Mr Clayson Monyela, DIRCO Spokesperson, on 082 806 7405.

Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation

OR Tambo Building

Private Bag X152

20 February 2011



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