15. Juli 2012

Nkosana Dlamini Zuma elected Chairperson of AU Commission

South Africa’s former foreign minister Dr Nkosana Dlamini Zuma was, on the evening of 15 July 2012, voted as the new Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC). The Southern African candidate and one of South Africa’s longest serving Cabinet ministers becomes the first woman to lead the powerful AUC.

Dr Dlamini Zuma garnered the required 60 % of the votes and was named the new Chairperson of the AUC, the African Union’s executive arm. In the end, four rounds of voting and 37 votes from 51 countries sealed her position. She defeated Jean Ping of Gabon who was seeking re-election. They went head-to-head at the AU Summit in January 2012 where both failed to garner two thirds of the votes.

Driven by the objective of transforming the AU into an efficient and effective continental body, members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) spent the last six months travelling across the continent, rallying support for Dr Dlamini Zuma. The South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, led from the front, mobilising support and lobbying. The region had not yet been afforded the opportunity to occupy the top position of the AUC chairpersonship, and a woman has never occupied the position before.

Strengthening African unity and advancing the transformation of the continent will be among the things Dr Dlamini Zuma would strive for as the head of the AUC. (News Flash DIRCO, Pretoria)

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