Dlamini-Zuma Set to Become First Female AU Commission Chair

Posted October 15th, 2012 at 6:10 am (UTC-5)
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The African Union Commission is set to have a female chairperson for the first time.

South African Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma begins her four-year term Monday with a handover ceremony at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa.

She replaces Jean Ping, whom she defeated in a July vote that took four rounds to produce a winner.

The 63-year-old takes over as the African Union faces challenges in addressing Islamist militants in northern Mali and a growing rebellion in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Dlamini-Zuma is also the first commission chair from South Africa, where she has held several ministerial posts since 1994.

Her work in desegregating the country's health care system after the end of apartheid and in turning around the department of home affairs have earned praise. But critics say her positions against anti-retroviral drugs have hurt the fight against AIDS in South Africa, which still has one of the highest infection rates in the world.