South African President Thabo Mbeki has "favourably received" the announcement that Togo would hold presidential elections in 60 days following an apparent power grab by the military, a spokesperson said Saturday.

"President Mbeki welcomes the announcement of this election because democracy must be entrenched, not only in Togo but also in the rest of Africa," said spokesperson Bheki Khumalo.

Earlier, Mbeki denounced an "unconstitutional charade" in Togo after the death of President Gnassingbe Eyadema and the installation by the armed forces of his son, Faure Gnassingbe. Mbeki said the Togo crisis contributed to the instability of West Africa.

Gnassingbe on Friday yielded to international pressure to restore constitutional order by calling elections, but said he would remain in the presidency until then.

The 53-member African Union, blasting the army installation of Gnassingbe as a military coup d'etat, threatened sanctions and hinted at military action.

Mbeki praised the work of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), which played a key mediation role in Togo. - Sapa-AFP