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Date: 15 May 2012
Title: SA reaffirms support for Dlamini Zuma as AU Commission chair
Pretoria - South Africa says it is committed to supporting its nomination of Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma as Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission.
"Our government and the SADC region is united behind its candidate," International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told media in Pretoria on Tuesday.
In January, African leaders shelved the election of the chairperson of the commission until July after both Dlamini Zuma and the incumbent 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.
Analysts believe that for South Africa to win the election, it would need considerable support from the Francophone African countries.
But Nkoana-Mashabane remained confident that they still had time to rope in countries in support of the SADC nomination. "The region continues to consult widely across all regions on the continent regarding the candidate of Dlamini Zuma."
She added that 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.
Asked what SA would do if there was still a deadlock at the July AU summit, Nkoana-Mashabane said they would follow the guidelines and the rule book of the AU.
Dlamini Zuma was not being fielded as a candidate to pursue the interests of any particular country or region, said Nkoana-Mashabane, adding that her work would be guided by the statutes of the AU as well as decisions of AU Policy Organs, especially the Assembly and Executive Council.
Nkoana-Mashabane's comments come after the consultative meeting of the African Union (AU) ad-hoc committee, which met in Benin on Monday. The meeting by the eight-member committee looked into breaking the impasse on the election of the chairperson of the executive arm of the AU.
The ad-hoc committee is chaired by Benin and comprises South Africa, Algeria, Angola, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon and Chad.
Amongst other things, the Monday meeting considered a report on consultations undertaken between the two countries that are representing candidates.
According to the minister, certain convergences emerged on the principle of rotation. "The principle of rotation and regional representation is entrenched in the international democratic process of the AU."
The committee will present a report of its deliberations for consideration and decision by the AU Assembly at the Malawi summit.
The AU Commission is the secretariat of the AU entrusted with executive functions. It is composed of 10 officials. The commission has never been headed by a woman. - BuaNews