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Mlambo-Ngcuka to head UN Women

The former deputy president is expected to become the second person to lead the gender-equality body.

Former South African deputy president Phumzille Mlambo-Ngcuka. Picture: SAPA

NEW YORK - Former deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka has been tapped to head gender equality body UN Women, diplomats said on Wednesday.

She will replace former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet who stepped down to pursue another presidential bid in her home country.

Bachelet stepped down in March after leading UN Women since 2010 when the body, aimed at furthering gender equality and the empowerment of women, was created by the UN General Assembly.

Mlambo-Ngcuka (57) was deputy president in former president Thabo Mbeki's administration between 2005 and 2008.

She resigned from Cabinet after Mbeki was ousted by Jacob Zuma at the ANC conference in Polokwane.

In 2009, she left the ANC to join the Congress of the People (Cope).

Mlambo-Ngcuka is married to the former head of the National Prosecuting Authority, Bulelani Ngcuka.