Parliament says farewell to Dlamini-Zuma

2012-09-19 19:00

Cape Town - Parliament on Wednesday paid a fond farewell and tribute to Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as she heads for Addis Ababa to chair the African Union commission.

President Jacob Zuma led praise for one of the country's longest-serving post-apartheid ministers, calling her a patriot and her departure a loss for the country, but a gain for Africa.

"She will be sorely missed in the country. But we know that we shall feel and hear her footsteps in Addis Ababa," he told a joint sitting of both houses of Parliament.

"We pursued the issue of her election because Africa needs someone who would take the African Union and its operations to another level."

Zuma said she had excelled as health, foreign and home affairs minister, the three portfolios she has held since 1994.

Cope leader and former ANC defence minister Mosiuoa Lekota said Dlamini-Zuma helped to champion a new vision of Africa during her decade as foreign minister.

ANC MP Maggie Maunye said as health minister Dlamini-Zuma's stewardship of the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act had spared countless women the indignity and danger of back street abortions.

"We shall miss you. Let this joint sitting take forward your example of hard work and leadership," she added.

The Democratic Alliance's Sandy Kalyan said Dlamini- Zuma's "strong, determined and sometimes stubborn character traits" would serve her well in her new post.

After a standing ovation, Dlamini-Zuma said she had been deeply touched by wishes of support from colleagues and ordinary citizens.

Reflecting on her time as a minister, she said: "It has been a very pleasant 18 years, but it was a very steep learning curve for all of us."

She said she believed Africa's future had never looked brighter as the continent was "dynamic, developing, and increasingly democratic" but the present generation had a duty to ensure this potential became a reality.

Wiping away tears, she added: "I'm going to Addis Ababa not as a saviour, but as a humble servant of the continent.

"I cry when I'm happy, I cry when I'm sad, and today I'm both."

Dlamini-Zuma said her priorities would include resolving conflicts, promoting education and women's rights, and integrating trade and infrastructure across Africa.

She has in recent weeks voiced support for giving the Pan-African Parliament legislative powers.

Dlamini-Zuma will be the first woman, the first South African and the first anglophone to chair the decade-old African Union.

She will replace Jean Ping of Gabon after a closely fought contest that split the AU along linguistic lines. French-speaking nations backed Ping, while English-speaking countries rallied behind Dlamini-Zuma.

Neither candidate secured the required two-third of votes in a first round in January.

Ping then remained in office for another six months, before he was defeated by Dlamini-Zuma with 37 votes out of 54 in a second round in July.

  • john.thelps - 2012-09-19 19:14

    Please take your ex husband with you!!!!

      scelo.promise - 2012-09-19 20:22

      shame man ! really shame!!!

  • veldt66 - 2012-09-19 19:22

    Good luck Dlamini -Zuma u are the true daughter of this African continent not some idiots who washed ashore.

      john.thelps - 2012-09-19 20:20

      Better than being pushed down from the top. The weakest came the furthest south...nobody further north wanted them. And do not forget, the Bushmen were here long, long before you!!! When the ones that were "washed ashore" came all you had were mud huts and asagais!!!

  • ruth.macwyne - 2012-09-19 20:18

    the best minister south afric has had.....sad to hear she going away... good luck

      george.slade.161 - 2012-09-19 20:32

      That shows what the rest are like !!! Useless the whole lot of corrupt Cadres !

  • Amahle Nofemela - 2012-09-19 21:06

    instead of celebrating a South African who's about to make a difference in the African continent. You guys choose to see the negative and criticise all the time...what's happening with our fellow South Africans ...still have not accepted the fact that South Africa is no longer on the hands of the White minority...if you dont have anything positive to say shut the hell up

  • nditsheni.singo - 2012-09-19 21:58

    go well madam minister, we are behind you with our prayers. there is a reason for your appointment. it was not just a vote but ther is a divine arrangement in all these. we love you, our country and Africa. may GOD BLESS YOU.

  • martin.sember - 2012-09-20 09:47

    We're saying goodby to the wrong Zuma in my opinion.

      helmut.smrz - 2012-10-03 15:03

      I agree with you

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