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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY WORKING GROUP ON THE AFRICAN UNION
14 February 2002
DRAFT MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
Please note: These draft minutes were taken by Mr Xaso
(National Assembly)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â (NCOP)
Speaker (Chairperson)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Surty, M E (ANC)
Deputy SpeakerÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Cassim, M FÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â (IFP)
Davies, R HÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â (ANC)
De Lange, J HÂ Â Â Â (ANC)
Eglin, C WÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â (DP)
Geldenhuys, B LÂ (NNP)
Jordan, Z PÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â (ANC)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Makanda W GÂ Â Â Â Â (UDM
Staff in attendance:
Tsholetsane, M (Parliamentary Law Advice office); Jenkins, F (Parliamentary Law Advice office); Gabriel, L (Information Services Section); Vassen, M (Speaker's Office); Xaso, M (NA Table).
The following items were added:
Seminar proposal (Draft programme)
Documentation and report to the National Assembly.
The minutes of the meeting of 15 January 2002 were adopted.
3. Matters arising
The Speaker reported that a letter had been written to the President proposing a meeting with the Executive on Thursday, 21 February at 13:30. Due to the change in the Parliamentary programme, the meeting would be rescheduled.
3.1 Debate on â€œAfrican Unityâ€?:
The Speaker suggested that the details of the above debate be dealt with in the report of the Working Group to the National Assembly.
3.2 Funding and staff:
The Speaker explained that various funding options would be considered. On the employment of short-term staff, the detail of the envisaged employment contract should still be worked out.
The Speaker reported that she and the Deputy Speaker had met with the directors of the Africa Institute of South Africa and the Institute for Global Dialogue. The director of the South African Institute for International Relations was unable to attend the meeting due to prior commitments. The research institutes would cooperate with the Working Group on all matters pertaining to the AU including the seminar. The Africa Institute and the Institute for Global Dialogue compiled a draft programme for the seminar. The research unit of Parliament had also compiled a comprehensive seminar proposal (The draft programmes were distributed to members of the Working Group). The Speaker asked the Working Group to consider whether participation in the seminar by people from other Parliaments and regional bodies would be necessary, as this was meant to be an introductory session. Members of our Parliament had to understand the AU issues first before bringing other people on board.
Dr Davies indicated that the programme proposed by the research unit was more comprehensive whereas the one from the research institutes was skewed towards governance and conflict resolution. He added that the Working Group should consider whether the seminar was for South Africans concerning the AU or for Africa. The title â€œimplications of the Act for South Africa, for the continent and globallyâ€? should also be clarified.
Mr Eglin stated that members should be informed of the AU processes. The other Parliaments and regional bodies should however be invited to share their own knowledge of the AU. He expressed concern that if the seminar took place on 1 and 2 March, other MPs except for the members of the Working Group, might be unable to attend it. On the programme, he suggested that the first phase should focus on the envisaged structures of the AU. Â
This item should entail a discussion on how the envisaged structures link with each other. The second phase should consider the challenges faced by Africa.
Adv De Lange proposed that the two draft programmes be combined. Given the July deadline for the inauguration of the AU, other Parliaments and regional bodies should in the very initial stages be involved and therefore they should be invited to the seminar on 1 and 2 March. The Presiding Officers should identify the relevant people on the continent that needed to be invited. The current thoughts and potential problems should be infused with other thought processes taking place elsewhere in Africa.
The Speaker asked whether it was feasible to organize an all-inclusive seminar within the time available. She explained that she had understood the intention as being to organize an introductory seminar first, and a report on this to be submitted to Parliament. Parliament would then take the process further and decide on appropriate procedures to be followed.
The Speaker asked the Working Group to decide on the number of participants for the seminar. Parties would need to nominate MPs/representatives. A planning team [2 or 3 members] would need to coordinate detailed planning for the seminar.
On the programme, the Speaker expressed the need to consider the governing structures of the AU. The envisaged AU structures seemed vastly different from the OAU's. The OAU had a more or less professional secretariat. The AU seemed to be modeling itself on the European commissions. According to the Constitutive Act, there would be commissioners. The relationship between the commissioners and the Heads of States should be clarified. Parliament should inform itself about the establishment and the viability of the envisaged governing structures. Relevant documentation on these and other matters had been requested from Department of Foreign Affairs.
Adv De Lange indicated that if resources were available, the planned seminar should serve as an introductory session and a more comprehensive session follow later. Dr Geldenhuys supported the view and added that Parliamentarians should first be empowered so as to be able to apply their minds to more complicated issues.
The Speaker explained that the seminar would last for two days. The research institutes would be responsible for their own transport and accommodation expenses. There would be no transport cost for Members of Parliament attending the seminar. The seminar should help MPs gain a better understanding of the AU, the transition from the OAU to AU and South Africa's position. In the first phase, the AU programme would focus on the summit in July and this mainly involved the Executive. Parliament should consider suggesting the involvement of Parliamentarians in the South African delegation with a view to giving a Parliamentary perspective to the process. The South African public and Parliamentarians would be kept abreast of the process by, among other things, Parliamentary debates on the AU.
Dr Davies proposed that resource people who would work with Parliament in considering issues pertaining to the institutional development and the vision of the AU should be identified. The seminar should be a discussion-orientated.
Mr Eglin proposed the incorporation of the OAU and Nepad into the programme. In this regard South Africa's point of view and its envisaged responsibilities should be highlighted.
The Speaker explained that the AU and Nepad processes were parallel rather than integrated. Nepad was a separate initiative run by a separate secretariat and was further ahead of the AU.
The Speaker pointed out that the seminar would involve both academic and political players. All the role players should consider the challenges posed by the implementation of the Constitutive Act.
Dr Davies stated that the seminar should help to develop an understanding of the case for promoting African integration. The concept (African integration) had different dimensions to it. It dealt with cooperation, coordination and trade integration. What seemed to be envisaged was an economic union with a considerable degree of political coordination. It was therefore necessary to ascertain what exactly was envisaged by integration. Issues of political cooperation, governance, the economic and social vision should be clarified.
In conclusion, the Speaker noted that the President had asked Parliament to make a contribution, which would feed into the thinking and planning of the Executive. The AU process was not set in stone and South Africa should play an important role in steering it.
The Working Group agreed:
The planned meeting with the Executive would be rescheduled.
The Working Group would submit a report to the National Assembly on the way forward.
The seminar (introductory session) would take place as planned.
There could be a comprehensive follow-up session emanating from the seminar (May 2002 was mentioned as a possibility for this session).
The Working Group would coordinate preparations for the seminar.
A planning team, consisting of two or three members of the Working Group, would coordinate detailed planning for the seminar.
A meeting between the planning team and directors of the research institutes would be scheduled for the week of the 18th February.
Relevant documentation would be circulated via e-mail to all the members of the Working Group (The Information Services Section was asked to make this information available).
A resource database on the AU would be created on the Library server, providing access to all Members via the network.
The meeting adjourned at 16:30.
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