"We want to strengthen our relations, take them to a higher level", said Zuma, adding that Thursday's meeting was "absolutely important" as it gave both leaders time to come to conclusions on some issues before Kenyatta's next visit.
Cyril Ramaphosa, who won the tight race to succeed President Jacob Zuma as ANC leader last month, also said that he would make fighting corruption a priority in a speech to mark 106 years since the founding of Africa's oldest liberation movement. There has been widespread speculation that Ramaphosa and his allies are lobbying ANC members to oust Zuma as head of state in the coming weeks, but he made no mention of Zuma's future. The President said there is the need for political parties of the two countries to work together and enable the people to interact and do business.
On the agreed visit, President Kenyatta said: "We have laid the groundwork for my State visit sometime in the first quarter of this year".
Speaking to the media after a meeting between the two in East London‚ ahead of the ANC's 106th birthday rally‚ Kenyatta said he wished Ramaphosa and the newly elected ANC leadership well.
"I am happy to participate in the ANC birthday celebrations".
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Mia Love (R-UT), who's of Haitian descent, have called out the president for the comments and have requested an apology. The New York Times later reported the same comment, citing unnamed people with direct knowledge of the meeting.
President Kenyatta congratulated Ramaphosa on his election as president of the ANC, and commended him for his message of unity within the party and the country.
The ANC says it is ready for its 8 January statement on Saturday.
He said the message of unity that Ramaphosa has been delivering is one that resonates well, not only with South Africans but also with other parties on the African continent.
President Kenyatta's three day official visit in South Africa ended on Saturday.
Ramaphosa is a veteran of the anti-apartheid struggle, and was the lead negotiator in talks to end apartheid and the writing of the country's constitution.