SABC News has exclusively learned that the United States has put forward Dr Reuben E. Brigety II as its next Ambassador to South Africa and is awaiting Pretoria’s input.

Brigety is an American diplomat and academic who currently serves as the Vice Chancellor and President of the University of the South in Tennessee.

Sherwin Bryce-Pease reports that if the nomination proceeds successfully, he will take up the position held vacant since the departure of Lana Marks at the conclusion of former President Donald Trump’s administration.

Sources in Washington have confirmed that Brigety is President Joe Biden’s pick to lead their diplomatic missions in South Africa.

The United States Embassy in Pretoria has been without a permanent head for most of 2021 and Brigety, if confirmed, would bring a wealth of diplomatic experience to the job.

Cementing his African bonafides, his wife Dr Leelie Selassie – a medical doctor – was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

This was his introductory video when taking up his current position at the University of the South:

He is a former United States Ambassador to the African Union serving in that position from 2013 to 2015 and as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs before that.

The Cambridge educated Brigety would be a markedly different appointment to his predecessor Ambassador Lana Marks who was a handbag designer without any diplomatic experience before she was tapped by former President Donald Trump.

The White House has yet to make the nomination official as it awaits concurrence from the South African government.