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

Working Group on African Union

24 September 2002
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Meeting report

DRAFT MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE WORKING GROUP ON THE AFRICAN UNION HELD ON 25 SEPTEMBER 2002 AT 10:00 IN V226

Present:

Speaker (Chairperson)
Deputy Speaker
Cassim, M F
Davies, R H
Geldenhuys, B L
Hajaig, F
Madasa, Z L
Mars, I
Madasa, Z L
Sithole, J
Turok, B

NCOP

Vilakazi, V

Apologies: Motubatse, D; Rajbally, S; Jordan, Z P; De Lange J H; Van Wyk, A.

Staff in attendance: Xaso, M (NA Table); Mohlomi, N (NA Table); Vassen, M (Speaker's Office); F Jenkins (Legal Services Office).

Introduction

1.1 Extra Ordinary Session of AU and amendments to the Constitutive Act
The Speaker indicated that the Extra Ordinary Session of the AU would be held in January 2003. The Department of Foreign Affairs was assembling an Interdepartmental Task Team to formulate proposed amendments to the Constitutive Act. Proposed amendments from Parliament would be channeled through the Task Team.

Agreed:
Staff to assist in pulling out possible amendments from Working Group documents.

1.2 Hosting of the Pan African Parliament
The Speaker reported that she had alerted whips to the proposal by the Working Group that "South Africa give serious consideration to hosting of the Pan African Parliament". The Executive still had to inform the Speaker of its position regarding the hosting of AU organs.


Agreed:
The recommendation re hosting of the PAP to be moved by way of a resolution in the House on Thursday, 26 September 2002.

1.3 Research project
The Speaker indicated that a meeting between the HSRC and the Africa Institute which is to be coordinated by Dr Gabriel was still pending.

2. Matters arising from the minutes of 3 September 2002

2.1 Report of the Task Team on the Implementation of the Constitutive Act
The Deputy Speaker presented the report. On the request of the Speaker, the discussion focused on the recommendations of the Task Team [The full report of the Task Team is available on request].

The Deputy Speaker mentioned that 2 March 2001 had been confirmed as the official date for the establishment of the African Union. There was a need for civil society involvement in AU matters. In South Africa's context, the NCOP and provincial legislatures should be considered as vehicles for civil society participation. This would ensure that the interaction with AU processes was not confined to the national Parliament level. Regarding the formation of the AU Commission, the SADC had already prioritized certain portfolios within the Commission, as follows:

Economic Affairs
Peace and Security
Rural Economy and Agriculture
Political Affairs

The Commission would have ten members. Each region had to nominate two names, a man and a woman.
Agreed:
Speaker to ask the Department of Foreign Affairs to provide a report on the SADC nominees for the Commission.

Parliament should continuously make inputs in the processes leading to positions on various matters pertaining to the establishment of the AU.

The Deputy Speaker stated that the relationship between the AU and the Regional Economic Communities was also important. It was necessary to consider the channeling of SADC issues within the AU. The disestablishment of the OAU needed to be monitored. It seemed that the Interim Commission was driving the disestablishment process.

She mentioned that, in terms of the Constitutive Act, there seemed to be room within the AU for States to financially support each other. She, however, expressed the view that there was potential for problems in this arrangement. The Task Team recommended that this matter should be transparently done and the possibility of a bilateral agreement between the affected states to be deposited with the Commission be considered.

The Task Team pointed out that member states should be encouraged to sign and ratify AU protocols.

Regarding a recommendation highlighting the need for the voice of Parliament, the Speaker stated that it was up to the members of Parliaments to generate the debates, reports and statements on the AU. She stated that there was a need to systematically consider having debates on different AU issues during the next session, adding that when the Protocols got considered these should be debated.

The Speaker indicated that Prof Haysom would be involved in dealing with proposed amendments to the Constitutive Act. She reported that the Protocol on the Peace and Security Council had been tabled and referred to the PC on Foreign Affairs with instruction to confer with a range of other committees. However, only one committee (Foreign Affairs) would report to the House. She indicated that she had written to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee regarding this matter. The only complication was that the Protocol was tabled without a memorandum, which in terms of the rules of Parliament is a requirement. This matter has been brought to the attention of the Minister with a request that the memorandum be submitted.

Agreed:
Recommendation 6 [regional communities] be considered by the Task Team on building the African Union.
Recommendation on civil society structure be considered by the PAP Task Team.
Recommendation 7 [disestablishment of the OAU] to be referred to the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs (Speaker to write to the Portfolio Committee about this issue).
Recommendation 13 [Charter on Human Rights and People's Rights] to be referred to the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development
Task Teams should, if necessary, refer matters to Portfolio Committees.

The Speaker also reported that South Africa's Ambassador to the AU, would be occupying his post in a couple of weeks. Ambassador Mamabolo was, in the interim, coordinating South Africa's role within the AU. Ms Jessie Duarte (SA's former Ambassador to Mozambique) was in charge of the AU desk at Foreign Affairs.

The Speaker expressed concern that the impression that Nepad was something separate from the AU was real. Parliament, through its reports, should assist in seeing Nepad and the AU as integrated. She also mentioned that about 50 experts would be meeting in Cape Town in October 2002. The meeting would be organized by the Nepad Secretariat to discuss the Peer Review Mechanism. Prof Turok indicated that there was a meeting, under the auspices of AWEPA, that would take place in Ghana during the weekend of 28 September 2002. He said that he had been invited to the meeting to talk about Nepad. The Speaker also indicated that an International seminar on "human rights and democracy" would be taking place in November 2002.

Agreed:
The Speaker to arrange for some MPs to attend the October 2002 meeting of international experts on Peer Review Mechanism to be held in Cape Town.

2.2 Report of the Task Team on Building the African Union
Dr R Davies presented the report on behalf of the Task Team. He mentioned that Parliament had an important role to play in generating civil society involvement in AU matters. The Working Group should consider meetings with some of the key role players within the civil society sector (eg Africa Institute, Sangoco) to identify constructive ways in which these organizations could be brought on board. There were two basic challenges in this regard, namely, at the level of the AU itself and at the level of South Africa's national participation and involvement in the AU. The Working Group should also meet with the Africa Institute.

Regarding Nepad and economic integration, there was a need for stock to be taken of all the different sub-regional integration arrangements. The Working Group should develop a concept which could describe the approach to regional economic integration. The integration agenda was essentially defined within the AU and the Nepad defined the socio-economic programme. These two processes needed to be aligned. The Working Group should meet with the researchers on economic integration to discuss the paradigms of the proposed research. When the research is produced, it should be shared in the continent generally.

The Working Group should also meet with Prof W Nkuhlu and Ambassador K Mamabolo to discuss some of the perspectives the Working Group was beginning to develop on the AU.

Agreed:
Speaker to facilitate the meeting with Prof Nkuhlu and Amb Mamabolo.

2.3 Report of the Task Team on the Pan African Parliament
Mr Cassim presented the report. The Speaker suggested that the format of the report be improved. She mentioned that the Presiding Officers were considering the technical aspects (eg costs) for hosting the PAP. She asked the Task team to also consider the report of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Pan African Parliament. On a question by the Deputy Speaker regarding hosting agreements, the Speaker explained that the practice was, if a country wanted to host an organ, that country should put a proposal to that effect and that proposal would then be formally channeled through AU structures.

After discussions, the Speaker suggested that, among other things, the Task Team report should entail recommendations on the following issues:

Vision and Mission for the PAP
How often should the PAP meet?
Is there a "chamber" that South Africa could use for the PAP?
Criteria for mandates and the nomination of representatives to the PAP
Establishment of committees and their functions
South Africa's participation
Sessions of the PAP
Nomination of Presiding Officers
Mechanisms for SADC to nominate Presiding Officers
Civil society participation in the PAP
Implications of sittings in different venues, away from headquarters
Definition of a "deliberative organ"
Process of formulating the PAP budget

The Speaker mentioned that she would write to parties asking them to nominate members to serve on the Task Teams.

The meeting adjourned at 11:55


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