President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed sadness at the passing of Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza 55, who unexpectedly passed on Monday following a short illness.
Nkurunziza’s passing came shortly after Burundi concluded what has been reported as a peaceful electoral process in the country.
Ramaphosa expressed his sincere condolences to the government and people of Burundi at the loss of the leader who served Burundi as the second democratically elected President and the first President after the civil war.
Ramaphosa said: “Burundi and all of Africa have lost a leader who was devoted to people-centered sustainable development, self-reliance, the sovereignty of his people and country, as well as peace on the Continent.
“It was under the leadership of President Nkurunziza that Burundi became one of the major troop contributing countries in the African Union Mission in Somalia. Burundi also deployed troops in the Central African Republic”, added Ramaphosa.
Burundi mourns passing of President Pierre Nkurunziza
The government has declared seven days of national mourning in Nkurunziza’s honour. Last month Burundi elected retired general Evariste Ndayishimiye as their new leader.
Nkurunziza was due to hand over power in August, he had ruled Burundi since 2005.
South Africa played a key role in the African Union-led Burundi Peace Process which led to the signing of the Arusha Peace Accords in 2000.
Nkurunziza also signed a number of bilateral Agreements with South Africa in November 2014.
Ramaphosa called on the people of Burundi to maintain calm and peace in their country following the passing of Nkurunziza and in the aftermath of the recently concluded Presidential, Legislative and Municipal Elections.