CAPE TOWN, Feb 25 — Zambian President Edgar Lungu paid a courtesy call on President Jacob Zuma at Tuynhuys, the cape Town office of the South African president, on Tuesday afternoon.
It was Lungu’s first visit to South Africa since his election in a January by-election caused by the death of former president Michael Sata in October 2014.
The two presidents met for just under an hour in what President Zuma later described as a productive consultation. Zuma also extended an official invitation to Lungu to make a State visit to South Africa, which they hope will take place later this year.
President Zuma said: “This has given us an opportunity to consult, first on our relations, bilateral relations, as well as on issues in the region and the continent, as well as global issues and we’ve had a very, very productive meeting. We’ve agreed that many of the agreements that we have between the two countries, they’ve got to be looked at and be taken up and promoted.”
President Lungu said:, “It’s common knowledge that South Africa is a big country. It’s a powerful one for that matter in the region and is a member of SADC (the South African Development Community) and its role cannot be questioned both in the socio-political and economic landscape for the African continent. So any knowledgeable leader would want to from time to time get to know what South Africa thinks about certain issues.”
President Lungu, a former defence minister, believes that purging political enemies is “normal” if they are “stumbling blocks or you can’t trust” them. And if any member of his party disagrees, he said, they are free to go join other parties.
Touching on whether he is still friends with his former boss, immediate past Zambian Deputy President Dr. Guy Scott, Lungu said: “I don’t drink with him … a friend is someone you can drink with.”
On the threats from mine owners who are not impressed with Zambia’s new royalties, which have risen from 6.0 to 20 per cent, he said: “If push comes to shove, we can say bye bye to them. My job is to look after the Zambian people.”
And on why he won the election so narrowly, he said: “I was naïve.” He also said he respected former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda.