20 March 2013
South African President Jacob Zuma has conveyed his warmest congratulations to His Holiness Pope Francis on his election as Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church.
“We would like to wish His Holiness a long and blessed Pontificate, to defend and promote the fundamental values of peace, solidarity and human dignity,” Zuma said on Tuesday.
Zuma said the Pope assumed leadership at a critical time in which the world’s collective wisdom and leadership, including that of the religious community, was needed to face up to the challenges of deepening poverty and underdevelopment afflicting many people of the world.
“We also share the conviction that we can only resolve the interconnected challenges of today’s world through dialogue,” Zuma said.
“I am certain that His Holiness will continue to build on the legacy of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, amongst others, in the promotion of inter-faith dialogue.
“I look forward to continuing our cooperation on issues of international importance such as Africa and its development, and to strengthen the special relationship between South Africa and the Holy See.”