(File photo) Thabo Mbeki. Photo: Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

Johannesburg - Former president Thabo Mbeki conveyed his congratulations to Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on Tuesday on her election as chairwoman of the African Union Commission (AUC).

“Dr Dlamini-Zuma will build upon the firm foundation of her predecessors,” he said in a statement.

Mbeki said he was confident in Dlamini-Zuma’s leadership skills and her capacity to help mobilise the continent to address its challenges of underdevelopment, unity, peace and security.

He also congratulated outgoing AUC chair Jean Ping, the foreign minister of Gabon, for his dedication during the four years of his term.

“Dr Jean Ping lead the AU Commission during the most challenging period of the development of the union. Together with his colleagues, the commissioners, he discharged his duties with diligence and dedication.”

Mbeki said Africans needed to support Dlamini-Zuma and her fellow commissioners so that they could achieve the AU's objectives.

“Like all intergovernmental institutions, the AU can only be effective to the extent that its member-states and all organs of our societies rally behind its objectives and programmes,” he said.

Dlamini-Zuma was elected as AUC chairwoman on Sunday.

President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday that Dlamini-Zuma would remain minister of home affairs until “all the requirements and processes related to the assumption of her new position of AU commission chairperson have been completed”.

“We will do our best to ensure that the good work that she has done in turning around the department of home affairs is carried forward,” he said in a statement. - Sapa