Presidents Jacob Zuma and Salva Kiir hold talks in Pretoria yesterday. Agencies Photo.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir, is currently visiting South Africa in a bid to advocate for maintaining in confinement his main political rival and the leader of the armed opposition Riek Machar and to exclude him personally from future interim arrangements.

President Kiir is accompanied on the trip by the Minister of Defence, Kuol Manyang, the Minister in the Office of the President, Mayiik Ayii Deng, and Minister of Petroleum, Ezekiel Lul.

“The president is visiting South Africa for two main reasons. One he is going to deliver a unified message of the transitional government of National Unity that Riek Machar should continue to remain outside the country during the interim period of the revitalized peace agreement,” a presidential aide said on Sunday.

The official who preferred anonymity stressed that the implementation of the peace agreement needs cooperation and this was lacking from Machar.

“Now his Excellency is cooperating well with the First Vice President Gen Taban Deng Gai and because of this cooperation, there has been a significant improvement and in the working relations and progress in the implementation of the peace agreement has been made,” he further said from Pretoria where he is part of the presidential delegation.

In October 2016 Machar left Khartoum to Pretoria officially for medical treatment. But in fact, his travel had been decided in a common agreement between the IGAD countries, South Africa and Washington was involved in the decision.

One month later, the former first vice-president successfully escaped his residence in Pretoria and reached Khartoum and Addis Abba. But he was forced to return to South Africa as the Sudanese and Ethiopian authorities refused to allow him to enter into their territories.

The South Sudanese presidential aide said the other message Kiir has delivered to President Jacob Zuma, for his government and the leadership of the African National Congress is to continue to talk to Machar to denounce violence.

He further said that President Kiir and the transitional government of national unity accept the representation of Machar’s faction in future arrangements but not himself.

In June 2017, Machar called on the UN Security Council to end an order his forced exile in South Africa and to allow him to engage in a peaceful settlement of the conflict.

Juba government believes that Machar should be kept far from the country during the reviltalization process and the end of the peace agreement implementation in a way that he can only run for the presidential election.