Congratulatory comments on the election of the former Ethiopian Foreign Minister, Tedros Adhanom, as the new Director General for the World Health Organisation, at the African Union Summit in Ethiopia by Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES
FOR ORAL REPLY
QUESTION NO: 62 (C070E)
PUBLISHED IN NCOP INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO.1-2017 OF 7 MARCH 2017
HONOURABLE YC VAWDA (EFF) TO ASK THE MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION:
(1) “At the African Union Summit in Ethiopia in January, you publicly congratulated former Ethiopian foreign minister Tedros Adhanom on his “election” as the new Director General for the World Health Organisation. The election for this position has not been held yet. Where did you get the information and do you not think that these regular lapses in concentration on your part are damaging to the integrity of our country?”
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION (Mr L T Landers): Thank you, Hon Chairperson. This is probably the most difficult of my six Questions in this Hon House and the reason I say that is because I’ve not had an opportunity to discuss this matter with the Hon Minister Nkoana-Mashabane.
She made the statement that is referred to in the Question and I have the Hon Vawda’s original Question before me which is quite different from what is contained in the Question Paper. So, I understand exactly what he is alluding to.
There is a video link on YouTube that I would invite Hon members to watch very carefully, as I have done. Through you Chairperson to the Hon Vawda, in the video link the Hon Minister Nkoana-Mashabane concedes that in congratulating the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, she was jumping the gun. If you watch the video very carefully to the very end, she makes that statement.
It is also important to note that Mr Tedros Adhanom who is the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, is the sole African candidate for the position of Director-General, DG, for the World Health Organisation, WHO, and was subsequently endorsed by the entire African Union, AU, at the summit. He will be facing candidates from France, Hungary and Britain. As Hon members will be aware, South Africa being a member state of the AU follows the lead, in this case, as set by the AU.
So, my Hon Minister concedes that she jumped the gun and perhaps it was inappropriate for her to have said there that she congratulates Mr Adhanom for becoming the DG because that election will only take place in May. However, one needs to bear in mind the context in which she made the statement to the media.