Dlamini-Zuma 'will be a loss to SA govt'

2012-07-16 13:30
Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. Picture: GCIS

Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. Picture: GCIS

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Dlamini-Zuma to lead AU

2012-07-16 12:09

Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was elected as commission head of the African Union. Dlamini-Zuma is the first woman to hold the post, beating the incumbent, Jean Ping of Gabon, in a closely-fought election vote in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. WATCH

kalahari.com

Johannesburg - The ANC chief whip congratulated Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on Monday on her election as AU commission chairperson.

"While she will be lost to the South African government, which she served in various capacities with excellence and dedication for many years, we draw satisfaction from the fact that she will be assuming a higher calling - serving the entire African continent," the office of the African National Congress chief whip, Mathole Motshekga, said in a statement.

Asked whether this meant she would have to vacate her job as home affairs minister, spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said it was understood to be a full-time position, but the presidency would have the final say.

She is the first woman to hold the position.

"We are confident that in Dr Dlamini-Zuma, the continental body indeed has a seasoned diplomat and a hard worker, with extensive experience in governance and Pan-African issues.

"We have no doubt that, given her wealth of experience, the AU commission's primary mission of driving African integration and development process in collaboration with AU member states will be better served under her able stewardship.

Not formally announced

"We commend the African Union states, particularly the [Southern African Development Community] region that chose Dr Dlamini-Zuma as its candidate, for demonstrating confidence in her and the people of South Africa," he said.

The presidency said it would respond after voting results were officially announced on Monday.

"The AU is yet to formally announce it. Until then it will be inappropriate to respond," spokesperson Mac Maharaj said.

Dlamini-Zuma received the most votes on Sunday evening, beating the incumbent, Jean Ping of Gabon.

Earlier, International Affairs and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said Dlamini-Zuma would make sure the AU's resolutions were implemented.

"What should change [with her election]... is that there will be more accountability, there will be more fast-tracking of implementations of decisions taken by the heads of state," Nkoana-Mashabane told SAfm.

"That means, spend more time on implementation of our resolutions instead of just creating more and more [resolutions]."

Victory for women

Nkoana-Mashabane said Dlamini-Zuma's election was a victory for women.

Dlamini-Zuma would through the AU "strengthen early warning systems, strengthen democracy and rule of law, and unity", Nkoana-Mashabane said.

The opposition Democratic Alliance congratulated Dlamini-Zuma, saying: "We believe that she has the appropriate skills and competence to transform the African Union into an efficient and effective body as well as the diplomatic acumen to address the many crucial issues facing the African continent," party MP Ian Davidson said in a statement.

"The AU chairpersonship presents South Africa with an opportunity to establish Africa as a proponent of value-driven international relations, based on the principles of democracy and human rights."

South Africa was now in a unique position to improve the alignment of international and regional agendas. The DA hoped that under the leadership of Dlamini-Zuma, the AU would build consensus around "appropriate regional responses" to the coup in Mali, the civil conflict in Somalia, the hostilities between Sudan and South Sudan and the resurgence of rebel fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"We wish Dr Dlamini-Zuma well in her role. We believe that she can lead a new era of a prominent place for Africa in an international agenda driven from the south."

The commission is the secretariat of the union, entrusted with executive functions.

On its website the AU explains the commission plays a central role in the AU's day-to-day management. It represents the AU and defends its interests, elaborates the union's draft positions, and prepares and co-ordinates its strategic plans.
- SAPA
Read more on:    au  |  nkosazana dlamini-zuma
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