Zuma humbled by Dlamini-Zuma

2012-07-16 19:50
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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

Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma is humbled by Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's election as chairperson of the African Union commission, the presidency said on Monday.

"Our people should take pride that the heads of state and government of the AU have elected Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to the position of the AU commission chairperson," he said in a statement.

She received 37 of the 51 votes on Sunday from member states of the AU at its 19th Ordinary Session of heads of state and government, he said.

A formal announcement about her appointment - she had required two-thirds of the vote for election - was expected at the AU summit in Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia, on Monday.

Her appointment would build on the work done by her predecessors, including Gabonese Foreign Minister Jean Ping, and ensure a more efficient and effective AU commission (AUC), said Zuma.

This would pertain particularly to the implementation of decisions involving unity, peace, stability, development and the upliftment of women and children.

He thanked Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states and the AU's leaders for their hard work in ensuring a successful election.

Arrangements would also be made by South Africa to allow Dlamini-Zuma to start her work with the AU.

First woman


"As South Africa, we will make the necessary adjustment to enable Dr Dlamini-Zuma to commence her new duties as soon as possible," Zuma said.

Dlamini-Zuma is the first woman to hold the position.

"With this appointment, Dr Dlamini-Zuma, who has served our country with distinction, becomes the servant of the continent and accountable to the AU," Zuma said.

She had been nominated for the position by the southern African region. It is the first time the region will be represented at this level.

Zuma's message came after many others congratulating Dlamini-Zuma.

Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane said she was excited about Dlamini-Zuma's election.

"Her election as the African Union chairperson is an affirmation that our Beijing platform of action has worked," Mokonyane told reporters in Johannesburg.

"It is also due to the fact that the African National Congress took the women issues to greater heights."
Mokonyane said everyone needed to embrace Dlamini-Zuma's new appointment and support her.

Dlamini-Zuma's female touch would make a lot of difference, as part of her role would include resolving violent conflicts on the continent.

"She is not only representing the country or the SADC region, but [will] represent what is in the best interest for Africa," said Mokonyane.

"It will make a difference."

The Young Communist League was confident she was "equal to the task" at a time of change for the continent.

It used the opportunity to call on all heads of state to establish a youth desk at the AUC, with a chairperson, to deal with issues, such as joblessness, faced by Africa's youth and that policy commitments and resolutions involving the youth be implemented.

'Negotiator of note'


In a note congratulating Dlamini-Zuma and describing her as a "negotiator of note" with "in-depth knowledge of Pan-African issues", Mike Mlengana, the president of the African Farmers' Association of South Africa, urged the AU to implement the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme.

In terms of this, at least 10% of national budgets would be spent on agriculture, and it would be ensured that the sector grew at an annual rate of 6%.

The Congress of SA Trade Unions expressed full confidence in Dlamini-Zuma and asked her to campaign against human rights abuses in Swaziland and "the continued colonial occupation of the Western Sahara by the government of Morocco".

The National Education Health and Allied Workers' Union said: "We are confident that she will continue to deliver results for the continent the same way she has done for the people of South Africa."

She had brought the department of home affairs "back from the abyss" so the union hoped her replacement "would not be incompetent".

Eastern Cape Premier Noxolo Kieviet pledged the province's support for her, and said: "We will be beside her all the time to ensure that she succeeds in building an Africa that is at peace with itself."
Read more on:    au  |  jacob zuma  |  nkosazana dlamini-zuma

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