South Africa

Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini-Zuma

Chairperson of the African Union Commission

Date of Birth: 27/01/1949
Place of Birth: Natal

Career: Research Technician, University of Natal Durban Westville Medical School, 1971-72; Vice-President, South African Students Organisation, 1976; Chairperson, African National Congress (ANC) Youth Section, UK, 1977-78; House Officer, Frenchay Hospital, Bristol, UK, 1978-79; Vice Chairperson, ANC Regional Political Committee, UK, 1978-79; Vice-Chairperson, Canadian Red Cross Memorial Hospital, Berkshire, UK, 1979-80; Medical Officer, Mbabane Government Hospital, Swaziland, 1980-85; Paediatrician, Whittington Hospital, UK, 1987-89; Director, Health Refugee Trust, Health and Development Organisation, UK, 1988-90; Chairperson, ANC Regional Political Committee, UK, 1988-89; House Officer, ANC Health Department, Zambia, 1989-90; Research Scientist, Medical Research Council, Durban, 1991-94; Minister of Health, 1994-99; Deputy Chair, United Nations AIDS Board, 1995; Chancellor, ML Sultan Technikon, 1996; Minister of Foreign Affairs, 1999-2009; Minister of Home Affairs, 2009-12 Chairperson of the African Union Commission 2012 to date.

Commentary: Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the ex-wife of Jacob Zuma, is ambitious and has achieved political prominence. As Minister of Health and of Foreign Affairs showed herself to be hard-working, perceptive and competent. She challenged the patent rights of international pharmaceutical companies, opening the way for widespread distribution of generic anti-retrovirals. As foreign minister she skilfully defined and defended South African interests, though her strong public support for Zimbabwe's ruling party dismayed many.

Yet she is charisma-free and was obdurate when she had clearly erred. In 1995 she refused to admit poor judgement in sanctioning the spending of 14 million rand (US$1.9 mn.) of the Health Department's budget on a musical show intended to combat AIDS. In 1997 she championed, without subsequent public regret, an experimental anti-AIDS drug called Virodene, made of industrial solvent and with no anti-retroviral impact.

She was originally Mbeki's first choice as his successor. Mbeki flagged her candidacy a month after he began his presidency in 1999, having appointed Jacob Zuma as his deputy. Until 14 June 2005 - when he fired Zuma, Mbeki still believed he could lift Dlamini-Zuma into the presidency. However, ANC supporters and leaders found the stern often abrasive medical doctor unsuitable for campaigning. An implacable foe, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, threatened to run a grassroots movement against her, using as a base the ANC Women's League until, at the 1997 ANC national conference, Dlamini-Zuma helped Mbeki to break Madikizela-Mandela's grip on the Women's League. Grassroots resistance and her ex-husband's problems finally prompted Dlamini-Zuma to withdraw. The relationship began to sour because Zuma felt affronted by Mbeki's open grooming of his estranged wife for the presidency. A week before Christmas 2005, she formally told Mbeki she wasn't interested in the top post. We hear Mbeki advised her to issue a public statement and she did so on 22 December.


Displaying 1-10 out of 86 results.

Vol 55 N0 23


Gloom settles on economy

Nevertheless, he has support from a broad spectrum of ANC constituencies and is ahead of other possible successors, Among these are African Union Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, ambitious Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe, Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula and the Arts and Culture (formerly Police) Minister, Nathi Mthethwa...

Vol 55 N0 21


Clash of the Titans

Nigeria did not back Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for African Union leader...

Vol 55 N0 20


DBSA moves centre stage

He was replaced by Patrick Dlamini, a relative of Zuma's ex-wife, African Union Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma...

Vol 55 N0 16


Jobs for the boys – and girls

Currying presidential favourZuma's youngest daughter, whose mother is his former wife, African Union Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, has an honours degree in anthropology from the University of the Witwatersrand but little previous work experience apart from voluntary work at ANC headquarters...

Vol 55 N0 16


The science of summitry

Meanwhile, AU Commission Chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is due to report back on her own Washington foray...

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Vol 55 N0 10


The last liberation election

That would pit Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, currently Chairwoman of the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa, or the rising star that is the ANC Treasurer General, Zweli Mkhize, against the Minister for Public Enterprises, Malusi Gigaba, and ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa...

Vol 55 N0 9


How not to refill a lake

Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou, the Acting Chairman of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), Mauritania's President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the President of the African Union Commission, and Nigeria's former President Olusegun Obasanjo all attended...

Vol 55 N0 8


Kagame mourns – and warns

Another prominent South African, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, was there in her capacity as Chairperson of the African Union Commission...

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Vol 55 N0 7


Some partners are more equal than others

His African Union counterpart, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, widely praised for her skilful co-chairing of the summit, spoke of the 'complementary comparative advantages' that will keep Africa and Europe locked together for decades to come...

Vol 55 N0 4


Ping's pop at Ali

In the upshot, South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma beat him to the job in July 2012...

Displaying 1-10 out of 86 results.