Draft Minutes on the Meeting of the Working Group on the African Union

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Meeting report



Speaker (Chairperson)
Deputy Speaker
Davies, R H
Jordan, Z P
Madasa, Z L
Makanda, W G
Mars, I
Motubatse, D
Seremane, J
Sithole, J
Turok, B
Van Wyk, A

Apologies: De Lange, J H; Booi, M; Botha, C S; Vilakazi, J N; Rajbally, S;
Geldenhuys, B L; Eglin, C.

Staff in attendance: Xaso, M (NA Table); Adonis, J (NA Table); F Jenkins (Legal Services Office); Gabriel, L.

Adoption of Minutes of 25 September
On the motion of Prof Turok, the minutes were adopted.

Matters arising
2.1 Extra Ordinary Session of AU and amendments to the Constitutive Act
The Speaker indicated that the Extraordinary Session of the AU would not necessarily be held in January 2003.

2.2 Research Projects
The Speaker reported that the meeting with the HSRC and Africa Institute had taken place. A new proposal had been compiled. The reference group of the Working Group would continue to monitor progress of the research project. Substantive points from the research project would be referred to the Task Team on Building the African Union for consideration.

The reference group of the Working Group to monitor progress of the research project on economic integration.
Substantive points from the research project to be referred to the Task Team on Building the African Union for consideration.

2.3 Amendments to the Constitutive Act
The Speaker reported that during the previous recess, the Interdepartmental Task Team on the AU requested an input from Parliament on amendments to the Constitutive Act. A document, in the Speaker's name, was sent to the Task Team. The Task Team subsequently compiled a comprehensive document, which also incorporated Parliament's views. She explained that in terms of the Constitutive Act proposed amendments to the Act would need to be submitted to the AU Commission. The AU Executive Council (meeting of ministers) would then meet to decide whether, in fact, anything needed to be referred to the 2003 Extraordinary Summit. The Speaker noted that none of the countries had thus far formally tabled amendments with the AU Commission, adding that the Working Group should, however, continue to bring to the attention of the Executive its views on the Constitutive Act. Prof Haysom pointed out that a question still remained whether South Africa should, in fact, comment on the Libyan amendments. A decision on this matter was still awaited. He explained that his research project would also incorporate a comment on the international implications of the Libyan amendments, adding that it was important to put on record views on the Libyan amendments.

The comprehensive report from the Interdepartmental Task Team to be made available to the Working Group.

2.4 SADC nominations re AU Commission
The Speaker reported that South Africa was still awaiting a report from the inter-ministerial committee for a process in this regard. She suggested that members could in the meantime think of possible nominees for the Commission.

While awaiting direction from the Executive, members to propose possible nominees for the AU Commission.

2.5 Meeting of Experts re Peer Review Mechanism
The Speaker reported that three meetings on the Peer Review Mechanism had so far been attended by members of Parliament. Prof Turok, the Deputy Speaker and the Speaker had at different times attended meetings on the Peer Review Mechanism. She proposed that members who had attended the Nepad meetings should meet and make proposals to the Working Group on how Peer Review and Nepad issues should be dealt with within Parliament. She noted that there was a lack of a parliamentary input in Nepad issues, adding that at the Cape Town meeting of experts she made a speech in which she proposed, among other things, that as soon as a country agreed to the Peer Review Mechanism, a submission to that effect should be made to Parliament with a view to making Parliaments part of the mechanism. When the implementation committee meets, views of Parliaments should also be noted. The Speaker emphasized that the key objective should be to make Parliament part of the Peer Review Mechanism.

Speaker's intervention at Nepad meeting of experts to be circulated.
Members who attended meetings on Nepad and Peer review Mechanism to meet with a view to propose to the Working Group on how to deal with Nepad and Peer Review Mechanism issues within Parliament.

2.6 Third Seminar on the African Union

In terms of the Fifth Report of the Working Group, a seminar of Parliamentarians was to be held before the end of 2002.
3rd seminar on the African Union to be held in January 2003 for two days, during the committee period.
*Timing to allow for feedback emanating from the research projects as well as reports from both Departments of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Industry.
Speaker to invite Amb. Mamabolo to address the Working Group on Tuesday, 5 November 2002 on developments since the launch of the AU.

2.7 Hosting of the Pan African Parliament (PAP)

The Speaker mentioned that staff and presiding officers had done considerable work at a logistical level on the Pan African Parliament, including costing. The PAP would at the outset meet for up to two months a year. On that basis, the Presiding Officers' consideration was that the National Assembly Chamber could not be used for meetings of the PAP. The PAP would need a permanent base of its own. The Speaker mentioned that the revenue building would be made available to Parliament by April 2003. Independent of the PAP, the Presiding Officers had been looking at getting more space for Parliament, as this was much needed. She said that detailed plans were in place to improve the current revenue building to make it suitable for the functioning of a Parliament. In view of the possibility of hosting the PAP, plans were in place to build a big hall within the building for this purpose.

The Speaker explained that political considerations would be taken into account when deciding on the hosting of the PAP. However, the host country would be expected at a minimum to provide a venue and the relevant facilities e.g office space. Decisions still needed to be taken on issues such as the payment of staff. Presiding Officers have submitted proposals on this matter to Foreign Affairs as a guideline.

Parliament should consider proposing to Foreign Affairs that if South Africa did host the PAP, the first sitting should be in South Africa and thereafter the next meetings could be in each of the five regions.

2.8 Progress report re research on rules of procedure
Dr Gabriel reported that Mr P Lilienfeld had submitted an initial progress report which essentially dealt with considerations of administrative issues and some of the issues around hosting the PAP. He was scheduled to submit the next progress report in mid November 2003. The projects also focused on how South Africa would handle its representation at the PAP. It also deals with how Parliament's own rules will change in order to ensure proper representation and reporting mechanisms.

Mr Cassim to report to the NA Rules Committee on the work of the Working Group in relation to the PAP.

Dr Davies enquired about the process being followed on deciding on the host for the PAP. The Speaker explained that the meeting of African Parliaments had recommended the establishment of a special committee to expedite the establishment of the PAP. She expressed concern that she had seen a document that the AU Commission was circulating in which there was no reference to the committee. Parliament (SA) would continue with its own processes, including formulation of the rules.

Speaker to write to the President regarding the establishment of the committee of Parliamentarians to expedite the establishment of the PAP.

2.9 Task Team on the Implementation of the Constitutive Act
The Speaker mentioned that the referral of the "disestablishment of the OAU" to the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs would be done by way of a House resolution. She added that she would raise the matter at the National Assembly Rules Committee meeting. The same procedure would apply regarding the referral of the "human rights charter" to the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development.

Minutes of the Working Group to be circulated to both Portfolio Committees on Foreign Affairs and Trade and Industry

2.10 Report of the Task Team on the PAP

The following areas were identified as priorities for the PAP Task Team to consider in compiling its report:
Vision and Mission
PAP political relationship with other AU organs
Establishment of committees and their functions (out of the mission and vision, consider possible structures)
PAP's Relationship with civil society (ECOSOCC is going to be one of the priority organs)
What is it that is going to be involved at the continental level, in terms of the PAP?
What is it that the South African Parliament needs to do in terms of mandates and representation?
Deliberative organ

The above issues to be looked into with a view to having a debate in the House before the recess.
A report to be compiled for submission to the Working Group on 5 October 2002.

The meeting adjourned at 11:25.


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