Outgoing US envoy to the African Union (AU) spoke out recently the increasing influence of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and her inner circle of advisers as they extend South Africa’s influence over the body, to the detriment of other African nations’ interests, reports Business Day Live.
Dlamini-Zuma took office as chairwoman of the AU Commission in Addis Ababa last October after she won a tough election campaign. During the campaign she was portrayed as a leader who would bring efficiency and independence to the struggling organization.
US ambassador Michael Battle told Business Day that he was worried about the issues of South Africa’s growing financial support to the commission and Dlamini-Zuma’s apparent determination to keep a high political profile in her home country.
She is a potential leader of the African National Congress (ANC) and as such is seen as a possible president of South Africa in the future. “If the AU commissioners, the PRC ( permanent representatives committee) and heads of state do not act … to drive the direction of the AU, it runs the risk of being driven by a set of advisers to the chairperson,” Battle said.
Battle is leaving his post after four years and said Dlamini-Zuma has surrounded herself with a kitchen cabinet of key advisers who are either from South Africa or other Southern African Development Community (Sadc) countries.
“The principal advisers who have very close one-on-one consultation time with the chairperson are persons who are Sadc -inclined, who are South Africa -inclined and who are ANC-inclined,” he said. “South Africa is paying the salaries and expenses for those advisers, which automatically means that (it) has a much larger presence at the AU.”