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.
Vol 55 N0 10
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
CHAD | SAHEL
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
Another prominent South African, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, was there in her capacity as Chairperson of the African Union Commission...
Vol 55 N0 7
EUROPEAN UNION | AFRICA
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
In the upshot, South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma beat him to the job in July 2012...
Vol 55 N0 3
Hastily announced by AU Commission Chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma at the closing ceremony, the ACIRC aspires to continue that pattern of success but faces huge practical and diplomatic obstacles...
Vol 55 N0 3
That at least was the hope of South Africa's Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the Chairwoman of the AU Commission, who announced her shock, on taking office in July 2012, that 97% of the budget for AU programmes was being financed by outside organisations (AC Vol 54 No 12, Paying and fighting for unity)...
Vol 54 N0 21
AFRICAN UNION | INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT
President Uhuru Kenyatta and Sudan’s President Omer Hassan Ahmed el Beshir have much reason to thank African Union Chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma...
Vol 54 N0 21
AFRICA | UNITED NATIONS
Such crises are prompting more muscular diplomacy from both the UN and the African Union, despite AU Commission Chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's marked preference for leading on development rather than peacekeeping...
Vol 54 N0 12
KENYA | AFRICAN UNION
The Chairperson of the AU Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, confirmed that this was the rationale behind the AU’s decision...