South Africa says it’s hopeful the new United Nation’s (UN) Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, will implement the 2003 Security Council resolution on a referendum for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.

President Jacob Zuma has met with his Sahrawi counterpart, Brahim Ghali, in Pretoria to discuss the continuing illegal occupation of Western Sahara by the Kingdom of Morocco. The president says they want to see the right to self-determination for the Sahrawi people as enshrined in the United Nations Charter and the AU Constitutive Act.

The SahrawiArab Democratic Republic is the only country that remains a colony in the African continent – colonised by the Republic of Morocco. It’s decolonisation has been on the agenda of the UN and AU for more than five decades.

Several attempts by both the UN and the AU to convince Morocco to give independence to the people of Western Sahara have failed.

Zuma says the two countries go back to the struggle years and that South Africa has a responsibility to support the people of Sahrawi

“We have been with them for many years. We are still with them. We will continue to be with them because we believe that every country must have its own self-determination and full freedom and we are, therefore, very clear that we should be calling upon the UN to implement its resolution,” says Zuma.

“The Saharawi people are struggling to recover the total sovereignty of its state on all its national territory. They are, unfortunately, confronting military occupation from a neighbouring state – the Kingdom of Morocco. South Africans stand with the Saharawi people in line with its principle and great history and its commitment to international legality,” says Ghali.

Ghali will honour an invitation by President Zuma to be part of the ANC’s 105th birthday celebrations at Orlando Stadium on Sunday.

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– By Ntebo Mokobo