Idasa wishes to congratulate the African Union (AU), the South African Development Community (SADC) and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma with her appointment as the new Chair of the African Union Commission. The Commission serves as the secretariat of the African Union.
This is a historic appointment for the AU, SADC and Africa. No woman has ever held this esteemed high office before. This is an achievement for women’s leadership across the continent. Secondly, this is the first time a preferred candidate from within the South African Development Community has assumed the role of AU Commission Chair and should be congratulated for this achievement.
Idasa believes that the African Union has found a strong new Chair in Dlamini-Zuma. Her track record as Minister, serving for two Presidents in several capacities in South Africa, speaks to her commitment to and capacity for service delivery and bureaucratic efficiency.
These are qualities that will serve the new Chair of the Commission and the AU well in the years ahead as the Chair of the Commission is the ‘bureaucrat-in-chief’ of the African Union. The Chair is by no means a political decision-maker nor does she represent the interests of her country of origin, South Africa, at the AU. Dlamini-Zuma is now our continents’ most senior public servant, serving the populations of AU member states at large. She will be responsible for the implementation of policy which in turn will be decided upon by the heads of state through the Assembly of Heads of State and Government as well as the Pan African Parliament.
The Chairperson of the AU is an annual rotating position currently held by Benin’s President Yayi Boni. The Chairperson heads the Assembly of Heads of State and Government.
Idasa urges all member states of the African Union to work together to heal rifts that may have occurred during the election of the new Chair of the Commission. It is only by working together through the African Union that current challenges such as the rebellion and recent coup in Mali can be addressed. It is through cooperation that we as a continent can tackle the challenges that we face as a result of the rebellion in the east of the DRC; the continued impasse between Sudan and South Sudan; Somalia and food and refugee crises such as currently devastating those living throughout the Sahel.
Idasa wishes Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma the best of luck with her new and important job in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
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