Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa heads to Sri Lanka

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Vice President Cyril Ramaphosa concluded his working visit to France on Sunday and would travel to Sri Lanka, the presidency said.

In a statement on Sunday, Ramaphosa said he would meet the Sri Lankan government, opposition parties and citizens during his visit to the country, which begins on Monday.

Ramaphosa has been appointed President Jacob Zuma‘s Special Envoy to help consolidate peace in Sri Lanka.

“What we are going to do there, we are going to listen to the Sri Lankans,” he said.

“We will also try to help the Sri Lankans with the Truth and Reconciliation process, their own constitutional reform and make sure Sri Lanka does indeed become a stable country where they will enjoy human rights.”

Ramaphosa would be accompanied by Deputy International Relations Minister Nomaindia Mfeketo.

On Sunday, Ramaphosa participated in the re-internment of the remains of Private Beleza Myengwa, a black South African soldier killed in France in World War I.

Agence France-Presse reported that Myengwa was killed in France but buried separately from his white compatriots because of the South African government’s racist policies at the time.

On Sunday he was reburied with around 600 fallen soldiers at the South African war memorial in northern France.

At the re-internment, Ramaphosa paid homage to Myengwa, who was one of more than 90 000 members of the South African Native Labour Corps who volunteered to serve in the First World War.

“Today we correct a historical injustice, and thereby restore the human dignity and affirm the citizenship of the members of the South African Native Labour Corps.

“The re-interment of this hero is testimony to our commitment to rehabilitate our military history and to promote nation building and reconciliation.”

Ramaphosa said that the contribution of all South Africans during the world wars was confirmed with the ceremony to rebury Myengwa.

“So little is known of their deeds, bravery, suffering and sacrifice in the service of humanity.”

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