17 May 2012

South Africa: Country Fully Behind Dlamini Zuma's Candidature to AU Commission

Photo: BuaNews
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and Nigerian Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo

Pretoria — As the July Summit of the African Union draws near, where the next chairperson for the African Union Commission will be elected, President Jacob Zuma has reiterated that South Africa's nomination is driven by the principle of strengthening the AU and improving its functioning and operations.

Speaking at the New Age/SABC Business Briefing in Mangaung, the President reaffirmed the country's support for the nomination of Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

"South Africa has no intention of dominating the continent or to bully any country or structure. We will serve, if elected, as a humble, loyal and disciplined member of the African Union," said Zuma on Thursday.

He added that South Africa would respect whatever outcome emerges from the AU summit in Malawi.

Cabinet, at its meeting this week, continued to endorse South Africa's candidature.

Briefing media on Thursday, Cabinet spokesperson Jimmy Manyi said Dlamini Zuma was "a distinguished and capable candidate with credentials and track record that respond to the task at hand".

In January, African leaders shelved the election of the chairperson of the commission until July after both Dlamini Zuma and the current chair Jean Ping failed to secure the two thirds majority needed to lead the organ. The next round of votes will take place at the 19th AU Summit in Malawi.

Cabinet believes that in keeping with the rotational principle all regions should be given an opportunity to lead the AU Commission.

Since its formation, the Organisation of African Union (OAU), the southern and the northern regions had never had an opportunity to lead the AU at the level of a chairperson.

Zuma said this morning: "We also believe in the principle of giving all regions of the AU the opportunity to serve the organisation."

"We all have a responsibility to promote the unity of the African Union so that it can continue its task of serving the peoples of Africa, leading them out of poverty and the legacy of centuries of colonialism and underdevelopment."

Earlier this week, International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane remained confident that they still had time to rope in countries in support of the SADC nomination.

At the time, Nkoana-Mashabane said the SADC region continued to consult widely across all regions on the continent regarding the candidate of Dlamini Zuma.

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