How the Government handled the Situation regarding the Inability of the 18th Summit of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa in January 2012 to elect a Candidate for the Position of Chairperson of the AU Commission which caused a Western and Southern Africa divide

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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

FOR ORAL REPLY

QUESTION NO: 10 (NO290E)

PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO 3-2012 OF 21 FEBRUARY 2012

Mr EM Sulliman (ANC) to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation:

Whether the inability of the 18th Summit of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa in January 2012 to elect a candidate for the position of Chairperson of the AU Commission caused a Western and Southern Africa divide; if so, how did the Government handle this situation?

REPLY

South Africa was successful in creating a common belief across the different regions that change was needed. The fact that Dr Ping did not receive the desired two-thirds majority, needed to retain his position, is evidence that many African countries across the different regions were united in their belief that transformation of the Commission was urgently needed.

Further to this, the AU elections were conducted in a democratic manner and were guided by the Constitutive Act and the Rules of Procedure. In the spirit of democracy, countries and regions were free to vote for the candidate of their choice and the outcome of the election was a democratic one. As Minister Nkoana-Mashabane stated at a media briefing during the AU Summit, “During the OAU time, when democracy carried the day, no one considered it to be disunity”. Thus talk of disunity and divisions between the Southern and Western regions is speculative.

South Africa remains committed to free and fair elections conducted in a transparent and democratic manner. South Africa will continue to engage with all regions to promote unity and integration on the continent. Further to this, South Africa will also continue to engage countries bilaterally in order to promote goodwill and strengthen relations.

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