First Report of Working Group; Discussion on meeting of African Parliaments

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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

20 June 2002

Chairperson: Dr F Ginwala (ANC)

Documents handed out:

Meeting of Working Group on African Union - 19 June 2002 (see Appendix 1)
Draft: Second Report of the Working Group regarding ratification of the Protocol (see Appendix 2)
ATC (19 June 2002): Tabling of Protocol to the Pan-African Parliament
Protocol to the Treaty establishing the African Economic Community Relating to the Pan-African Parliament

Official AU website:

The Committee continued with preparations for the meeting of African Parliaments later in the month. A number of technical amendments to the second report of the working group was tabled.

The Chair felt that it was important to adopt the first report of the Working Group recommending the ratification of the Protocol. She noted that two issues needed to be looked at. How the delegations were to be composed and budgetary issues. She had inquired of the NCOP delegates but they did not have anything to add. The only amendments to be made to the second report were technical.

First Report of the Working Group
Dr Davies (ANC) felt that the word "Houses" should be replaced by "Parliament".

The Chair agreed and asked if it was correct to say "delegation to the Pan-African Parliament".

Adv Meyer, legal advisor, replied that it should be "members" and not "delegation".

The Chair asked for suggestions concerning the wording of the establishment of gender composition of the delegations.

Ms Pandor (ANC, NCOP Speaker) suggested "Parliament should, as soon as possible, consider the procedure and criteria for the composition of the members to be designated for the Pan-African Parliament".

The Chair suggested changing "the Working Group should" to "the Working Group will" because they had decided what to do.

Ms Pandor asked if the Working Group were trying to identify aspects that should be addressed or if they wished to formulate Rules of Procedure for the Pan-African Parliament.

The Chair replied that the Working Group had looked at particular aspects and decided that they would have to be looked at in the Rules.

Mr Davies (ANC) added that he thought it was not only linked to the Protocol.

Ms Mbete (ANC) clarified that it was aspects specific to the Protocol as well from elsewhere that needed to be addressed in the Rules.

The Chair recommended the insertion of point 5, stating that the Working Group would begin to consider the proposed Rules of Procedure for the Pan-African Parliament. She stated that the report could proceed.

Ms Pandor stated that much of what was in the Report needed to be done internally and suggested that the Committee perhaps recommend steps to be taken with regard to the public.

The Chair replied that this had already been done in the Fourth Report, where a four point strategy had been recommended. She also noted that government had begun popularising the AU.

Meeting of the African Parliaments
The Chair said that up until the previous morning, a response had been received from 21 Parliaments. The Speakers of the regional parliaments were also being invited to sit in the Assembly. Round tables had been confirmed but it would only be Heads of State who would be debating. Parliamentarians would be invited, as would others, and there would be time for debate with the Heads of State. The Deputy Secretary-General of the OAU would also be present. From South Africa, either the President or the Foreign Affairs Minister would be present. Thought had also been given to inviting one of the senior Speakers to address the assembly. The Egyptian Speaker was being considered, as were the Tanzanian and Namibian Speakers. Four items to be discussed - including familiarisation of the AU, and economic and court integration - had been circulated although not officially put on the agenda.

The Chair stressed the need to make the process inclusive and felt that there was a need to look at the South African delegation. She proposed that many civil society organisations be invited to the opening.

Mr Cassim asked, regarding the televising of the meeting, if there would be total and full coverage.

The Chair replied that she had spoken to SABC and was waiting for them to get back to her. There was also a need to speak to E-TV and DSTV. One of SABC's proposals was a weekly slot relating to the AU but that was still being discussed.

The meeting was adjourned.



Action Points (Decision on items to be dealt with in the rules will be reflected in the minutes of 19/6/02)

1. Speaker to table the Pan-African Protocol on Thursday, 20 June 2002 and refer it to the Working Group for consideration.

2. Working Group to produce 2 reports on the Protocol - the one report to recommend ratification and also incorporate the following:

(a) The fact that, in the initial stage, the PAP would only have consultative and advisory powers; however, its ultimate aim is to evolve into an institution with full legislative powers.

(b) The South African Parliament should as soon as possible consider the composition of the South African delegation to the Pan-African African Parliament.

(c) The Budget Committee of Parliament should make provision in the next budget for participation by Parliament in the Pan-African Parliament.

(d) The Working Group should begin to consider the drafting of rules of the Pan-African Parliament.

3. The second report to contain, inter alia:

(a) A recommendation that the PAP should be established as soon as possible and the Assembly of Heads of State should consider a way of facilitating early implementation of the Pan-African Parliament.

(b) A point about the ceding of legislative authority and certain provisions, which will need to be incorporated into domestic law.

4. Staff to draft the other key points to be incorporated into the second report of the Working Group.

5 Speaker to bring to the attention of the Executive that the Oath of Office should be in place before the first sitting of the PAP.

6. Staff to draft the Oath of Office for consideration by the Working Group.

7. Speaker to write to the Executive regarding the recommendation that South Africa be the seat of the Parliament.

8. The Working Group to meet during the recess (committee time) and Speaker to raise the matter at the Programme Committee on 20 June 2002.

9.Speaker to check on progress re drafting of peer review mechanism.

Appendix 2:

DRAFT: Second Report of the Working Group on the African Union regarding the ratification of the Protocol to the Treaty establishing the African Economic Community relating to the Pan-African Parliament.

The Working Group on the African Union, having considered the request for approval by Parliament of the Protocol to the Treaty establishing the African Economic Community relating to the Pan-African Parliament, referred to it, further reports as follows:

1. The Working Group recommends that the Pan-African Parliament should be established as soon as possible and that the Assembly of the Union (Heads of State) should consider a way of facilitating early implementation of the Protocol.

2. The Working Group does not wish to, and should not be understood to, be proposing the adoption of any reservations or a declaration in respect of the said Protocol.

3. However, the Protocol appears to contain:

(i) various clauses that require amendments to fit into the framework of the African Union

(ii) various clauses that require executive action and constitutional muster before the establishment of the Pan-African Parliament; and

(iii) clauses that require implementation through the Rules of Procedure of the Pan-African Parliament or national legislation.

4. Generally it can be said that the definitions in article 1 refer to terminology found in the Treaty establishing the African Economic Community. Although article 33(2) of the Constitutive Act of the African Union (AU) provides a mechanism to resolve apparent ambiguities in the legal interpretation of the Protocol, the terminology creates confusion as the Protocol stands at present. The Working Group recommends that the definitions be brought into line with the institutions of the AU by amending the Protocol in terms of article 24 in due course. Such amendments depend on executive action; viz. two-thirds majority decision by the Assembly of the Union, which consists of Heads of State.

5. Besides amendments to the definitions clause, the Working Group would like to emphasise that the concept 'deliberative organ' (article 4(3)) requires definition. This can be achieved either through an amendment or a review of the Protocol, both executive actions, or through the Rules of Procedure of the Pan-African Parliament. It is recommended that the Working Group take the initiative to enquire from Member States what would constitute a deliberative organ in their countries.

6. A further point that the Working Group debated in detail pertains to the legislative power of the Pan-African Parliament. Until the Protocol is amended, the Parliament will enjoy only consultative and advisory powers (article 2(3)). As South Africa will be chairing the Assembly of the Union during its first term, the Working Group would like to suggest to the South African government to consider their role in promoting the evolution of the Parliament into an institution with full legislative as well as oversight powers. In the event of such evolution, the Working Group would like to point out that the South African Constitution might require amendment.

7. Articles 8 and 9 extend parliamentary privilege of the Pan-African Parliamentarians to protect them in their home countries. It is recommended that national legislation provide for such protection.

8. It is further recommended that the Rules of Procedure provide for a term of office for Pan-African Parliamentarians (article 5(3)), the Vice-presidents and the President (article 12).

9. Lastly, it is recommended that the Working Group continue to work on proposals for a draft Oath of Office (article 13) and for the Rules of Procedure (article 12).

Report to be considered.


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