SA women are making it happen for the continent

2014-02-02 14:00

Three women who served together on former president Thabo Mbeki’s Cabinet are using their networks to make things happen for other women in Africa.

Former deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, now under-Secretary General for UN Women, arrived at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa on Friday to sign an agreement on gender with AU Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who was foreign minister under Mbeki.

“We are signing a memorandum of understanding with Dlamini-Zuma seconding a gender expert to the AU to help advise in peacemaking efforts,” she said.

Issues like sexual violence and the rebuilding of conflict-torn countries have to be addressed when talking about peace and security, she said.

Mlambo-Ngcuka said she used her networks to collaborate with Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, now with the African Development Bank, but who previously served as public service and administration minister.

“She delivered the bank,” she said.

Mlambo-Ngcuka is aware that other countries have complained about South Africans ganging up in the AU, but says “we are working for the good of the continent”.

She said working for UN Women was tough as it meant doing the same work she did in South Africa, but for all the countries in Africa.

Dlamini-Zuma was coy about using her South African networks. “Maybe the networks helped, but I think [Mlambo-Ngcuka] is also committed not just to the links we had, but the issue.” She said they were doing it for the African continent.

Fraser-Moleketi said: “I wanted to be back on the continent and plough back into it.”

She previously also worked for the UN but will now be based in Abidjan in the Ivory Coast.

She said she was commuting to South Africa regularly.

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