South African president Cyril Ramaphosa, under fire for congratulating President Emmerson Mnangagwa over his disputed re-election last week, says he made the statement based on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s (ZEC) declaration the Zimbabwe strongman had won.

According to ZEC, Mnangagwa polled 52,6 percent of the national vote, a result that has been described as a gigantic fraud by his main challenger Nelson Chamisa of CCC, who got 44 percent.

The poll, the second such contest inside five years involving the fierce political rivals, has been flagged by SADC observers and other missions for failure to meet the dictates set by the Zimbabwean constitution and benchmarks set by regional and international groups on the conduct of a free elections.

The Europeans Union observer mission said the elections was held in a climate of fear.

Amid the embarrassing flaws, Ramaphosa still sent the congratulatory message which drew fire from both Zimbabweans and South Africans who felt the president of a key member of the regional bloc who is also presiding over the region’s most perfect democracy, misfired in endorsing Zimbabwe’s ‘sham’ poll.

Door stepped to speak over his message by South African media in Johannesburg on Tuesday, Ramaphosa denied endorsing Mnangagwa’s victory while urging for patience until the Zimbabwean election dust settles. “The SADC body has issued a preliminary report.

They are still going to sit down together with many other observers and analyse everything,” Ramaphosa said.

“So, let’s wait until all that comes out, but the Electoral Commission in Zimbabwe has made a declaration and it is on that basis that we have issued our congratulatory message.

“So, the rest of other things still need to be processed no doubt and everybody including the government of Zimbabwe accepts that so let’s wait until everything is well processed.” Zimlive