26 September 2011
South Africa has congratulated Michael Sata following his inauguration as Zambian president on Friday following a 10-man presidential race in the southern Africa country.
“The South African government extends its sincere congratulations to President-elect, Mr Sata on his election,” the Presidency said in a statement. “In this regard, the South African government wishes to reaffirm its desire to further enhance its strong historical relations with Zambia.”
According to the Electoral Commission of Zambia, Sata amassed a total of 1 150 045 votes, representing 43% compared with the incumbent, Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) President Rupiah Bwezani Banda, who polled 961 796 votes, representing 36.1%.
The MMD has been the ruling party Zambia for the last 20 years; this was Sata’s fourth presidential election.
South Africa further reiterated its commitment to continue working with the Zambian government and people for the mutual benefit of both nations.
“The South African government also wishes to extend its appreciation and respect to all the candidates who participated in the elections, as well as to the sterling work carried out by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and all the institutions which have contributed to success of the democratic elections in Zambia.”
South Africa had also taken note of the fact that, according to election observers, the poll met the criteria for being free, transparent and credible, and said this boded well for the consolidation of a democratic culture on the continent.
Defence and Military Veterans Minister Lindiwe Sisulu represented South Africa at the inauguration.