After R8m campaign, SA revokes support for Mthunzi Mdwaba for ILO DG position

After pouring resources and R8 million into the campaign to have Professor Mdwaba at the helm of the International Labour Organisation, Cabinet has resolved to withhold its support.

Professor Mthunzi Mdwaba. Picture: International Labour Organization ILO/Flickr.

JOHANNESBURG - In a surprising turn of events, the South African government has made an eleventh-hour turnabout on its decision to support Professor Mthunzi Mdwaba’s candidacy as the next director general of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Should Mdwaba have succeeded, yet another South African would’ve occupied a powerful high-profile position in the United Nations - yet the government is said to have ordered that the country can support anyone else but Mdwaba.

The ILO is an agency of the UN that is mandated to advance social and economic justice through setting international labour standards.

After pouring resources and R8 million into the campaign to have Professor Mdwaba at the helm of the ILO, Cabinet has resolved to withhold its support.

Sources have told Eyewitness News that the decision was based on nothing else but what they describe as “petty politics” – with a sentiment expressed that Mdwaba is not well-liked in government circles for a myriad of personality-based issues.

Just last month, the permanent representative of SA in the UN ambassador Mxolisi Nkosi lodged nomination papers for Mdwaba to run as the next director general after he was endorsed by SA, the Southern African Development Community and the African Union.

Ironically, Mdwaba has the highest number of submitted nominations for the position in the history of the ILO – enjoying support from countries such as Malawi, Lesotho and various international bodies.

In a tweet posted on Monday afternoon, Mdwaba has described the events as “confusing,” saying they shall get to the bottom of it.

Recently, former executive director of UN Women said former President Jacob Zuma had opposed her appointment to the international body when she was tipped for the job.

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