NDZ takes paycut for Addis job

2012-08-04 18:17

Low wages paid by AU make it harder for Dlamini-Zuma to appoint staff

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is starting to realise just how difficult it is to set up an office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

South Africa’s Home Affairs minister spent this week preparing for her move to Ethiopia, where she will next month take up position as chairperson of the African Union Commission.

Her first task is to appoint staff who will join her in Addis, but this is complicated by the relatively low salaries AU staff are paid.

Insiders told City Press that South Africans who leave government here and go to work for the AU in Addis will take, on average, a 33% salary cut.

“That is why they travel so much. If you travel you get an (allowance) that is the same as at the UN, $200. That is how you augment your salary,” an official told City Press.

“Do you see why there are no South Africans at the AU? The pay is so bad,” he added.

Even Dlamini-Zuma, who currently earns more than R2 million a year, will take a significant paycut.

Dlamini-Zuma can appoint up to 20 staff members in her new office, but those close to the outgoing minister say she does not want to appoint only South Africans.

“Then they’ll say, ‘This is exactly what we said would happen, she’s stocking the place with South Africans,’” the official said.

One of the barbs used against Dlamini-Zuma in the acrimonious battle for her new position was the criticism that South Africa wants to “take over” the continent and exclude other countries from important roles.

“So if she goes only with South Africans, those who didn’t support her election will say ‘I told you so’”, the official said.

Now Dlamini-Zuma is trying to woo local businesses for financial support to augment the AU’s budget.

The Black Business Council was part of a long list of visitors Dlamini-Zuma hosted this week.

She also met the African Forum – an organisation of former African presidents – and Malawi’s president Joyce Banda.

Black Business Council secretary Sandile Zungu told journalists after the meeting: “The minister said to us the AU has to rely on funding from donor countries, and that funding could come from South African businesses.

“So the minister asked us to be dependable so we can be relied upon to assist with the problem of funding.”

He said the council would step up to the plate.

“With her at the helm the AU will be more efficient and will serve the interests of all in Africa,” he added.

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