President of South Africa Thabo Mbeki led the tributes for Percy Sonn who took over from Ehsan Mani as International Cricket Council president on Friday.
"The ICC was the first international sports body to recognise a democratic South Africa through the membership of the United Cricket Board of South Africa in 1991," said Mbeki.
"Mr Sonn played a major role in the unification of South African cricket that led to this membership and his leadership of the ICC will be another important step in his administrative career," he said in a press statement.
"The President, Government and the people of South Africa congratulate advocate Percy Sonn on his appointment as president of the ICC, the first South African to hold this post," added Mbeki.
Mani, whose three-year reign as president ended on Friday at the ICC's annual conference at Lord's, was equally full of good wishes and praise for his successor.
"Percy has served as ICC vice-president for the past two years and is a former president of the United Cricket Board of South Africa," he said.
"He brings a wealth of experience and a deep understanding of the issues in the game (to the role of ICC president). He will have the support of a well-structured and properly resourced organisation complemented by an excellent management team. I extend my best wishes to Percy during his term as ICC president," added Mani.
Congratulations also came from the Chief Executive of the United Cricket Board of South Africa, Gerald Majola, and South Africa's captain, Graeme Smith.