African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is set to make a return to South Africa, where she is likely to take up a top position within the ANC.
This is according to a report in the Mail & Guardian, citing the South African government.
Department of international relations head of public diplomacy, Clayson Monyela, told the paper via sms: “It was never a secret. She’s not running for a second term. Definitely coming back.”
The M&G said that Dlamini-Zuma will not seek a second term, and is due to return in October, following a handover process.
Confirmation of Dlamini-Zuma’s return is likely to fuel debate about who will replace current president, Jacob Zuma, when his term ends.
Zuma’s second term as ANC president will end in December 2017, while his term as state president ends mid 2019.
The president is in the spotlight amid allegations of an attempted state capture in conjunction with the Gupta family, which has led to calls for him to step down. A senior ANC official also admitted this week that the scandal around Nkandla has damaged the party’s reputation.
“We lost face and we cannot afford to lose face again,” said newly appointed parliamentary chief whip, Jackson Mthembu, in an interview on the Justice Factor show on Monday evening.
There is a strong lobby group within the ANC that wants to see Dlamini-Zuma succeed her ex-husband as the first female ANC president when the party holds its leadership elections in 2017. This means she could become South Africa’s first female president when general elections are held in 2019.
However, there is also a push from supporters of deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa to have him step up to the position, as has been tradition in the ANC, News24 reported.
Dlamini-Zuma served as minister of health from 1994 to 1999, under President Nelson Mandela, then minister of Foreign Affairs from June 1999 to May 2009, under presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Molanthe.
She then served as minister of Home Affairs in the Cabinet of president Zuma, from May 2009 to October 2012.