Ramaphosa opens up to Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

South Africa’s former deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka Sowetan in Sandton.
South Africa’s former deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka Sowetan in Sandton.
Image: Veli Nhlapo/Sowetan

President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised former deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka that South Africa will support the work she does at the United Nations (UN).

Mlambo-Ngcuka is based at the UN headquarters in New York, where she is executive director of UN Women with the rank of under-secretary-general of the UN.

The two met two weeks ago on the sidelines of the ANC's election workshop in Centurion, Pretoria. Ramaphosa, through his acting spokesman Tyrone Seale, confirmed the meeting took place.

"Their discussion touched on Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka's work at UN Women. It also looked at the issue of the empowerment of women and how the South African  government, including the president, can work together in advocating and advancing the cause of women. The president undertook that SA would support the work of UN Women," Seale said.

Her work at the UN includes driving empowerment projects for women around the world. She has established game-changing movements such as HeForShe that engages men and boys.

She has also been influential in transforming conversations and knowledge on the most important issues affecting women's lives, such as discriminatory laws, unequal pay and unpaid care work, violence against women, disenfranchisement, and conflict and humanitarian crises, through flagship programming that coordinates responses through the UN system.

Ramaphosa's commitment to support her could be seen as a good start as she did not enjoy such support during former president Jacob Zuma's era.

Sowetan also understands that Ramaphosa was looking at appointing some experienced individuals in business and governance to advise him at different levels. Mlambo-Ngcuka may be one of them.

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