AU Commission chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. File picture: Joe Penney

Addis Ababa - Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has dismissed speculation that she will run for Parliament this year, saying she would finish her term as African Union Commission chairwoman, which ends in 2016.

But she would not say if she intended to run for a second term at the AU.

Dlamini Zuma has been nominated for Parliament on the ANC’s party list, sparking speculation that she would abandon her AU post to which she was elected in 2012.

But asked about this at a press conference at the AU summit on Thursday, she said: “I have no intention of not finishing my term.”

Dlamini Zuma said that South Africans were free to speculate and that she was a member of the ANC and always had been, but repeated: “I will finish my term.”

However, when she was asked if she would stand for a second term after her first term as AU chairwoman ended in 2016, she said: “I was elected for one term and I don’t cross bridges before I come to them.”

When the South African government nominated her to run against the incumbent AU Commission chairman Jean Ping of Gabon in 2011, when she was home affairs minister, there was considerable speculation in South Africa that she was being sent abroad to prevent her presenting a political threat back home to President Jacob Zuma.

At her first attempt at the AU post at the organisation’s summit in January 2012, she failed to dislodge Ping, as neither candidate won majority support from AU member governments.

She finally defeated him at the next AU summit in mid-2012 after a bitter campaign.

Dlamini Zuma was speaking on the eve of the AU heads of state and government summit which begins on Thursday.

Zuma arrived here for the summit on Tuesday evening and on Wednesday attended summits of the Nepad Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee and the African Peer Review Mechanism Forum.

At the Nepad meeting he presented a progress report on an initiative he is leading to boost Africa’s integration through the development of infrastructure.

He also gave a progress report on the specific infrastructure project he is championing which is to build a South-North spine connecting the south of Africa to the north. According to officials he was able to report that several “missing links” in the South-North corridor had recently been completed and so construction of the spine was well advanced. - Independent Foreign Service