South Africa’s International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Maita Nkoana-Mashabane’s pledge of R1000 to the African Union (AU) has drawn mixed reactions. The AU, formed to establish an integrated, prosperous, and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens, is moving at snail pace to realize these ideals. This has left the citizenry and the world wondering whether African leaders themselves have the best interests of Africans at heart. The late Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, used to provide 15 per cent of AU's membership revenue and paid entire dues for many African nations from Libya’s oil wealth. Six African countries currently contribute about 65% of the AU's membership revenue. The AU's headquarters in Addis Ababa was put up by the Chinese government at a cost of $200M in 2012.
The AU budget has risen from $308 million in 2014 to $522 million in 2015. Member states are to contribute 28 per cent of this budget, while donors are expected to contribute a whopping 72 per cent. Clearly, something is amiss, for he who pays the piper calls the tune.
Maita Nkoana-Mashabane’s move is therefore symbolic and should stir the African Chiefs to restore the continent’s position from begging to self-determination and prosperity.