Jean-Jacques Cornish

Zuma to become next SADC chairman – if he’s still President

Next month’s SADC summit in Pretoria will be a special farewell event for Angolan President Eduardo Dos Santos, whose stepping down a few days later after 37 years at the helm.

It will also see President Jacob Zuma assume the chairmanship of the 15-nation regional body -provided of course that he still South Africa’s head of state.

Briefing the media ahead of the SADC summit  on August 19 and 20, Deputy Director  General for Africa at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation Xolisa Makaya played a straight bat to my question about what would happen if President Jacob Zuma was defeated in a  parliamentary no confidence debate ten days before the gathering.

Is the SADC chairmanship passed to heads of state. If Jacob Zuma is defeated in the parliamentary no confidence motion on August would that chairmanship automatically pass on to his successor, I asked?

“Exactly that,” Makaya replied. “We don’t want to comment further, but exactly that.”

Makaya confirms  that the chairmanship of the regional body passes to heads of state and not to individuals.

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.