Document handed out: Presentation by the UCT Law Clinic [awaited]
In the presence of the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Members attended a seminar on the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 as it related to migration, regional integration and an Africa passport. The seminar was prepared and run by the Institutionl for Global Dialogue (IGD), the Africa Institute of South Africa (AISA) , the Institute of Security Studies (ISS), the Scalabrini Institute for Human Mobility in Africa (SIHMA) and the University of Cape Town (UCT) Law Clinic.
The Institute for Global Dialogue focused on summarising the AU Vision as it related to key issues on migration. The AU Agenda 2063 was rooted in Pan Africanism and African renaissance, and provided a robust framework for addressing past injustices and the realisation of the 21st Century as the African Century. African aspirations for 2063 included a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development; an integrated continent, politically united; good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and rule of law; a peaceful and secure Africa; an Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, shared values and ethics; development that was people-driven, relying on the potential of African people; and Africa becoming strong, united and an influential global player.
The Africa Institute of South Africa briefed the Committee on prerequisites for integration on the African continent. African states and their leaders had committed themselves to promoting free movement of persons, rights of residence, single tourist visas and regional passports; urging one another to adopt employment policies that allowed the free movement of persons within the proposed African Economic Community (AEC); and strengthening co-operation in education and training, coordinating and harmonising their policies for developing the capacities and skills required to enhance social progress and the development of the continent. There would be immense benefits from free movement of the people when viewed within the broad context of economic integration, including mitigation of the uneven distribution of skills of the continent; an increase in the level of cross-border economic activity; and job creation and economic growth. However, there were challenges and risks of allowing free movement, such as security concerns and political instability, institutional factors, and fear of migration.
The Institute for Security Studies said that since their independence, African states had prioritised regional integration as a mean to fulfil economic development. However regional integration had not been successful, especially in the political and security spheres. Despite acknowledgement of the artificiality of the borders, Africa had remained a continent where intra-continental movement was strictly regulated for many reasons: administrative, political and security. Guaranteeing the establishment of free movement required embracing a phased and flexible implementation, taking into account regional and local conditions in order to put in place the appropriate safeguards.
The Scalabrini Institute for Human Mobility in Africa discussed issues relating to regional refugee considerations in the move towards the integration of migration regimes. Migration streams within Africa were much larger than those out of Africa. In 2015, the AU had committed itself to develop a Protocol on Free Movement by January 2018. It would enable an African passport, a visa-free Africa, a free trade area, and other arrangements that would facilitate further integration. The Institute stated that a continental integrated migration regime required harmonised national migration policies and a common approach to respond to the protection needs of refugees and asylum-seekers.
The UCT Refugee Rights Unit discussed the local legal implications of regional and continental integration. There was a need to review the existing migration legislation and align it to the AU Agenda 2063. South Africa needed to conduct an assessment to determine whether it was fulfilling the vision and how the regional immigration regimes were integrated into national provisions to allow different categories of people to enter into the country. Existing immigration law did not make free movement of people easier -- its approach was largely based on deterring or preventing the flow of migration..
Ms Fatima Chohan, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, commented that the free movement of people was of concern, as many African countries did not have population registers, and it would be difficult to know where some people were coming from should borders be opened. Although borders were claimed to be colonial, borders were there prior to colonisation because there had been kingdoms. The central issue was not about opening borders, but rather the question of making a difference between citizens and non-citizens. Differentiation should be made with respect to how a sovereign nation treated its citizens and how it treated non-citizens. The treatment of non-citizens spoke about the critical issue of ensuring national security and the social security net of the citizens. A sovereign nation should look after its citizens first, and make sure their wellbeing was secured.
Members described the AU Agenda 2063 as a mere dream and aspiration which would be difficult to turn into reality. They felt that it was premature to talk about the free movement of people on a continent which was characterised by corruption, terrorism, human trafficking, civil wars, and political turmoil. Many African countries had problems with infrastructure. Some countries were poor, making the aspirations or desired goals impractical to achieve. Free movement of people was impractical because factors like the management of borders and the maintenance of the sovereignty of nations had to be considered. They were of the view that the focus should be on ensuring that Africa was a stable and secure continent with democratic governance in its all corners.
The Chairperson welcomed Ms Fatima Chohan, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, and her team. He said the Committee was busy with the 2017 White Paper on International Migration, and would like to know its impact on the management of migration. He said that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had started implementing the African Union (AU) visa. He invited inputs from various stakeholders on African Union Vision 2063 as it related to migration, regional integration and an African passport. He noted the invitation to the Committee on International Relations and Cooperation.
Institute for Global Dialogue
Dr Philani Mthembu, Executive Director: Institute for Global Dialogue, said that his brief focused on summarising the AU Vision as it related to key issues on migration.
The preamble of the African Union Agenda 2063 was entitled “The Voices of the African People” and the first paragraph of the Preamble stated that “We, the people of Africa and her Diaspora, united in diversity, young and old, men and women, girls and boys from all walks of life, deeply conscious of history, express our deep appreciation to all generations of Pan-Africanists.” He said that the AU Agenda 2063 was rooted in Pan Africanism and African renaissance, and provided a robust framework for addressing past injustices and the realisation of the 21st Century as the African Century.
African aspirations for 2063 were seven fold:
a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development;
an integrated continent, politically united and based on the ideals of Pan Africanism and vision of Africa’s renaissance;
an Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and rule of law;
a peaceful and secure Africa;
an Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, shared values and ethics;
an Africa whose development was people-driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth, and caring for children;
Africa as a strong, united and influential global player and partner.
Dr Mthembu said that the Assembly of the African Union had made a call to action. The call was, among other things, about building and expanding an African knowledge society through transformation and investments in universities, science, technology, research and innovation and through the harmonisation of education standards and mutual recognition of academic and professional qualifications. It was also about the introduction of an African passport, issued by member states, capitalising on the global migration towards e-passports, and with the abolishment of visa requirements for all African citizens in all African countries by 2018.
There were critical enablers for Africa’s transformation. They included, but were not limited to, strengthening and transforming regional and continental institutions and the manner in which business was done, in order to effectively lead and drive the agenda for transformation and integration.
Dr Emmanuel Owusu-Sekyere, Chief Research Specialist: Africa Institute of South Africa (AISA) briefed the Committee on the prerequisites for integration on the African continent: A Person-to-Person (P2P) Perspective. He focused on the aspirations of Abuja Treaty of 1991, inter-linkages with the AU Agenda 2063, the status quo, an inter-Regional Economic Community (REC) comparison, benefits of P2P integration and movement of the people; and challenges and pre-requisites for achieving P2P integration.
He said that Article 4, Objective 1(a) of the Abuja Treaty, establishing the African Economic Community (AEC), proclaimed the need “to promote economic, social and cultural development and the integration of African economies, in order to increase economic self-reliance and promote indigenous and self-sustained development.” He said that African states and their leaders committed themselves to:
promoting free movement of persons, rights of residence, single tourist visas and regional passports;
urging one another to adopt employment policies that allow free movements of persons within the proposed AEC;
strengthening co-operation in education and training, coordinating and harmonising their policies for developing capacities/skills required to enhance social progress and the development of the continent.
These commitments were interrelated with and linked to the AU Agenda 2063 – the Africa we want. In addition to the long standing Abuja Treaty of 1991, the AU Agenda 2063 called for visa free travel by all Africans within Africa by 2018. The move by several African countries to offer visas to citizens of AU member states was on arrival, in terms of freedom of movement protocols, in particular, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), ECOWAS, EAC and the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD).
Dr Owusu-Sekyere said that there were various benefits to free movement of the people, especially when viewed not in isolation but within the broad context of economic integration. When viewed within this context, immense benefits emerged. Benefits included mitigation of the uneven distribution of skills of the continent; an increase in the level of cross border economic activity; job creation and economic growth. All dimensions of African integration, trade and infrastructure, macroeconomic and financial integration, could not be realised without flexibility in the movement of people within the continent. However, there were challenges and risks in allowing free movement. These risks and challenges were viewed in the context of security concerns and political instability, institutional factors, and fear of migration.
Dr Owusu-Sekyere asked the following questions: What should African governments do? In responding to this question, he said that there were two schools of thought. The first school recommended that governments should revisit and review some of their integration aspirations holistically. In the process, they should weigh the anticipated benefits of African integration aspirations against the realities of the continent and the costs of integration that could emerge. The second school was of the view that these challenges were not new, and that we had always lived with them. Accordingly, they suggested that government should forge ahead and address these issues along the way, otherwise people would wait forever and nothing would happen. They believed that the implementation of an economic or regional integration agenda would automatically force governments to solve some of these challenges anyway.
Dr Yann Bedzigui, Institute for Security Studies, discussed the security situation and its consideration in the move to the integration of migration regimes. He said that since their independence, African states had prioritised regional integration as a means to fulfil economic development. This emphasis had resulted from two factors -- firstly, the post-1945 context marked by the rise of multilateralism, and secondly, the acknowledgment of the artificiality of the borders inherited from colonisation. Regional integration was seen as a way to overcome this while avoiding new border upheavals.
However regional integration had not been successful, especially in the political and security spheres. As African states had just acquired sovereignty, many were reluctant to share it. This reality was more acute in the area of the movement of the people. Despite acknowledgement of the artificiality of the borders, Africa had remained a continent where intra-continental movement was strictly regulated for many reasons -- administrative, political and security.
However, integration in this area was also a challenge because of the security context prevailing on the continent. There were notable security problems in the Sahel, Central Africa and Eastern Africa. The following were new trends: violent extremist insurgencies, contestation of durable regimes (or transition challenges), endemic conflict characterised by the inability of states to break the cycles of conflicts, ungoverned spaces, and lack of effective responses from AU and other regional bodies such as SADC. With regard to options available, he said that there was a need for a pre-assessment based on a rigorous methodology to assess the impact of free movement on the state of peace and security, the need for enhanced border cooperation, and solving of border disputes.
Dr Bedzigui said that guaranteeing the establishment of free movement, which did not disrupt the already fragile security context, required embracing a phased and flexible implementation, taking into account regional and local conditions in order to put in place the appropriate safeguards. He asked the question: What was the state of security? He said that peace was consolidated in many places but there were new challenges that had not been foreseen, such as violent extremism, the impact of climate change, and developments in the world economy.
In some places, there was no end in sight to conflicts. In this regard, insecurity remained a push factor for migration. It not only affected the ability of states to control their borders, to regulate the movement of the people, but also to respond to people’s aspirations. However, there was no need to be optimistic, because Africa was trying to achieve what other regions had taken centuries to achieve.
Mr Sergio Carciotto, Associate Director: Scalabrini Institute for Human Mobility in Africa (SIHMA) discussed issues relating to regional refugee considerations in the move to integration of migration regimes. He expounded migration dynamics. He said that the AU Agenda 2063 aimed at promoting integration as part of efforts to strengthen migration governance for regional economic integration and inclusive development. Migration streams within Africa were much larger than those out of Africa. More than 50% of those migrating internationally did so within Africa. Migration within the same sub-region predominated. 65% of those migrating in Southern Africa migrated within their own sub-region. He described trends in international movements, and gave statistics of foreigners arriving in the top 20 countries. He said that the top ten countries sending asylum-seekers in 2015 were Zimbabwe (17 785), Ethiopia (9 322), Nigeria (6 554), DRC (6 355), Bangladesh (3 331), Pakistan (2 596), Malawi (2 372), Somalia (2 079), India (2 064) and Ghana (1 778).
Mr Carciotto asked the following questions: What were the main concerns for refugees and asylum-seekers in a continental free movement regime? To what extent would a common African passport affect migration and refugee policies of national states? He said that in 2015, the AU had committed itself to develop a Protocol on Free Movement by January 2018. The Protocol created a system that guaranteed access of all African citizens to all African countries. It abolished visas at arrival. It was bound to facilitate entry, residence and establishment of all nationals of AU members through a gradual approach. It would enable an African passport, a visa-free Africa, a free trade area, and other arrangements that would facilitate further integration.
The implementation of the Protocol had three phases. Phase One was implementation of the right of entry, which included facilitation of travel without a visa for 90 days and ensuring entry restrictions for inadmissible migrants. Phase Two was implementation of the right to residence in terms of allowing income-earning employment, application for jobs, and staying in the country in accordance with national laws after completion of the job. Phase Three was the implementation of the right to establishment in terms of the creation and management of enterprises.
Mr Carciotto said that there were some issues to be taken into consideration. Firstly, the AU Protocol was not a refugee instrument. It did not purport to limit the applicability of benefits conferred in other regional and universal instruments or agreements. Where provisions overlapped with regard to any given right or entitlement available to African citizens who were also refugees, the most favourable provisions applied. Refugees might therefore enjoy rights under the AU Protocol in addition to the rights to which they were entitled under international refugee law.
In terms of Phase One, an asylum-seeker should be allowed to enter without a visa for 90 days. The existing law allowed five days. With regard to the Second and Third Phases, he said that in October 2017, the Specialiased Technical Committee (STC) on Migration, Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons had considered the adoption of the Protocol to the treaty establishing the Eastern African Community (EAC) relating to the free movement of persons, right of residence and right of establishment.
In his conclusion, Mr Carciotto stated that a continental integrated migration regime required harmonised national migration policies and a common approach to respond to the protection needs of refugees and asylum-seekers. Of importance was a strengthening mechanism to differentiate between asylum seekers and other categories of migrants. The 2017 White Paper on International Migration introduced an individual risk-based approach to manage efficiently cross-border movement of people, goods and conveyances. It also introduced limited provisions to a free movement regime for certain categories. The implementation of the AU Protocol and AU Agenda 2063 should be based on equality of treatment for refugees with other African citizens in terms of implementation of aforementioned three phases.
Mr Popo Mfubu, Lecturer and Researcher: UCT Refugee Rights Unit, discussed the local legal implications of regional and continental integration. He said that there was a need to review the existing migration and to align it to the AU Agenda 2063. The Agenda provided guidance. Under its aspirations section, it talked about regional integration. Its paragraph 19 talked about the quest for African unity, which had since 1963 been inspired by the spirit of Pan Africanism, focusing on liberation and political and economic independence. African unity was motivated by development based on self-reliance and self-determination of African people, with democratic and people-centred governance.
He further referred to paragraph 22, which stated that “Africa would witness the rekindling of solidarity and unity of purpose that underpinned the struggle for emancipation from slavery, colonialism, apartheid and economic subjugation.” Paragraph 23 talked about the political unity of Africa. It stated that political unity would be the culmination of the integration process, which included the free movement of people and the establishment of continental institutions. Paragraph 23 emphasised that “Africa shall be a continent where the free movement of people, capital, goods and services would result in significant increases in trade and investments amongst African countries rising to unprecedented levels, and in the strengthening of Africa’s place in global trade.”
In order to achieve a free movement, the Agenda talked about a common African passport. South Africa needed to conduct an assessment to determine where it was in fulfilling the vision and how the regional immigration regimes were integrated into national provisions to allow different categories of people to enter the country. He said that existing immigration laws did not make free movement of people easier. Its approach was largely based on deterring or preventing the flow of migration. The 2004 amendment to the immigration framework made it difficult for African migrants to seek employment and to sojourn in the Republic.
The salient question was, what could the legal implications of the AU Agenda 2063 on South Africa’s immigration frameworks be? The UCT Refugee Rights Unit had submitted various comments on the Green and White Paper on International Migration. He appreciated the move taken by South Africa in terms of White Paper, and remarked that it had been lagging behind. Of concern was that the Green and White Paper focused much on national security and national interests. The national security was important, but it should not be the lens from which immigration was examined. The state might lose sight of the benefit could be drawn from migration. If one looked at the current approach of the USA towards migration, one would see that it had devastating effects on international migration.
However, positive strides had been made by South Africa towards migration in terms of implementation of SADC protocols. The Zimbabwe dispensation which was issued in 2010 was designed to ease the burden on the refugee system. It was then replaced by Zimbabwe’s special permit. The permit would be expired in 2017, and would need to be extended. A Lesotho permit had been developed and rolled out in 2016. An immigration permit with certain relaxation was granted to Angolans as a part of the implementation of a cessation clause. Using this permit, they were able to apply for a permanent residence permit. Although the SADC Protocol was not yet operational, South Africa offered a free visa on arrival to various members of SADC. A similar approach should apply to other countries and should be a regional approach. To get here, South Africa ought to ensure that national immigration laws spoke about the AU Agenda 2063 and the AU Protocol on free movement of the people.
Deputy Minister Chohan commented that the free movement of people was of concern if account was given to the fact that many African countries did not have population registers. It would be difficult to know where some people were coming from, should the borders be opened. She asked whether the discussion was about the free movement of people, or whether it was about the facilitated free movement of the people. If the question was about free movement of the people, free movement could not be restricted to African people, and borders should rather be opened to all people, including non-African people. Although borders were claimed to be colonial, borders had been there prior to colonisation because there had been kingdoms. Could the presenters convince her that kingdoms did not recognise their territories, borders and their people? Of central concern to the discussion was not about opening borders, but rather the question of making a difference between citizens and non-citizens. Differentiation should be made with respect to how a sovereign nation treated its citizens and how it treated non-citizens. The treatment of non-citizens spoke about the critical issue of ensuring national security and a social security net for the citizens. A sovereign nation should look after its citizens first, and make sure their wellbeing was secured.
Ms N Dambuza (ANC) applauded the aspiration of integrating and uniting Africa politically and economically so as to have a common voice. The main problem was implementation of the AU Protocols and Agenda 2063. African countries had a problem with infrastructure. Some countries were poor, making the aspirations or desired goals impractical to achieve. The African passport was easy to implement. There was a challenge of implementing other goals, because countries did not have population registers. There had been no report on the assessment of abilities of the countries with regard to implementing the AU Agenda 2063. Some countries were capable of implementing it, whereas others were not.
In order to implement the Agenda, there were various issues that needed to be considered -- for example, the management of borders and maintenance of the sovereignty of nations. Presenters seemed to be hard on South Africa, insisting that it should implement the Agenda. However, they should not be hard on South Africans. Its implementation of the Agenda should rather be judged and assessed on the basis of what other countries had done. What had other countries done so far? She suggested that South Africa should take one step towards implementation of the Agenda and wait for other countries to take such step before it took the second step. One step at a time. The question to be asked was whether a step that could be taken by South Africa could be taken by other countries.
In taking steps towards implementation of the Agenda, the question of security should be given adequate consideration. Security should be taken seriously. It should be said that South Africa had a political will to implement the AU or SADC Protocols on the free movement of people. This political will could be reflected in granting special permits to Zimbabweans and the people of Lesotho.
Ms H Hlope (EFF) welcomed presentation. She said that the AU Agenda 2063 was a good vision that resonated very well with the EFF vision and protocols. The Vision was very impressive and progressive. It reminded her of the goals of the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD). She stressed that borders were colonial, and were meant for Africans. They were inherited from colonialism. She congratulated the AU on this move. The NEPAD document talked about all these aspirations. These ideas were there in that document and perhaps were borrowed from there.
The timeline for implementing the common African passport was very critical. The common Africa passport initiative had been launched in Rwanda in 2016 and the deadline of 2018 could not be met by all countries, as there were certain issues that ought to be taken into consideration. Moreover, the implementation of regional and economic transformation was critical. South Africa could not engage in the transformation of the continent when nothing tangible had been transformed at home. Even though South Africa had been viewed as a well-off country, it had not yet transformed its economy. The economy was in the hands of the few. The land was not yet distributed to the people. Both Members and presenters should be conscious about South Africa’s transformation situation.
On top of this, it should be recognised that there was no good governance in Africa. African leadership was very corrupt. African countries were far from being liberal and democratic. In which country was development people-driven? There was a need to interact with officials of the AU directly. They should come and brief the Committee. It was they who should be answering the questions that Members had in mind. In her view, the goals of the AU Agenda 2063 were a mere a dream because heads of state and government had no political will to implement the things they said when sitting in Addis Ababa. How would these aspirations be implemented by South Africa, where the land was not owned by the people?
Mr A Figlan (DA) raised his concern over the issue of diversity in Africa in terms of linguistic and tribal communities, and asked whether these issues had been taken into consideration. There was a struggle with managing languages in Africa, and he asked how African languages would be managed. There was a serious problem of security and peace on the continent. How would the aspiration of a peaceful and secure Africa be achieved? Africa was not secure. Insecurity was the main cause of immigration. Migration in Africa was not driven by economics -- it was driven by bad governance and the absence of democracy. There were leaders who were claiming that they would lead until Jesus comes back. This was the main problem that was leading to civil wars and political insecurity. Given that in South Africa, languages were problematic and this had resulted in having 11 official languages, the fundamental question would be, which language would be selected by the AU as the official language? On what basis? The question of insecurity should be examined in the context of poverty and political instability, and should be addressed prior to discussing the free movement of the people.
Ms D Raphuti (ANC) said that the AU Agenda 2063 was a mere aspiration. African leaders had just a dream, and were very ambitious. For realisation of this dream, Africa ought to be free and secure. She asked whether Africa was free and secure. She stressed that in a country where there was no security, there would be no development. Peace and security were core aspects for development. Leaders dreamt without thinking about the diversity in cultures and languages, and without thinking about peace and security, and without thinking about the rights of citizens. Each country ought to account to its citizens.
She remarked that it was the people from north who would largely benefit from the principle of the free movement of people. The principle was orchestrated by the people of the north. However, no state could accept that their borders be opened for free movement of the people. She asked the presenters if they knew what was happening in Hillbrow and other cities. She felt that it was still premature to implement the AU Agenda 2063.
Ms T Kenye (ANC) agreed with Ms Raphuti that it was premature to open borders for free movement. She said that South Africa was dealing with the problem of a porous border. In order to redress this problem, South Africa had introduced the Border Management Authority (BMA) Bill. The Bill would introduce an Authority that would monitor, control and manage borders. The discussion about opening borders was not compatible with the discussion on the establishment of the BMA. She added that South Africa was too soft on foreign nationals. Foreign nationals like Nigerians could beat a police officer in South Africa without any legal consequences. This could not be allowed to go on.
Mr M Masango (ANC) said that the presenters had not touched on comparative studies with respect to good stories of economic integration. In the European Union, the question of economic integration had been dealt with for the last 40 years. He stressed that regional integration should not be looked from economic consideration perspectives. Political and security issues should be taken into account. There were issues of xenophobic violence in Africa. Xenophobic violence was not limited to South Africa only -- it affected other nations, such as Uganda and Tanzania. Of concern was that xenophobic violence affected low skilled people, who competed with locals in the labour market. This violence did not affect skilled people such as accountants, doctors, engineers, etc.
The question of unity and economic integration had been looked at during the days of independence with a view to finding ways that the continent could be economically and socially progressive. During colonisation, some countries were doing well. Those countries which were doing well when they became independent, were now worse economically. These countries had nothing to show or to be proud of. They had no peace. They were poor. They had no good governance. Political violence reigned. Human rights were being gravely violated in central Africa. He asked what the status of refugees would be in terms of the AU Agenda 2063. Uganda had received quite a number of refugees from Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and had had to go and seek intervention from the UN. It had stated that it had no medical provisions and food for refugees. There was this type of intervention that was being provided to nations who could not support refugees. How would these matters be dealt under the AU’s regional integration approach?
Mr M Kekana (ANC) said that he was covered by his comrades. The notion of free movement of people was misplaced. If one could listen to the masses of South Africa, one would find out that the notion was a mere a dream, as they were not in support of free movement. Firstly, there was a need to analyse the African states as to whether they were capable of implanting the notion of free movement. How would things be integrated to become common when national laws and constitutions varied to a great extent? What if the free movement allowed rebels to come into the country and hijack the cash-in-transit trucks? How would one trace and track down these people?
He expected academics to state that the foundation of the state was its constitution. Free movement of people was impossible if the constitutions of all African countries were not the same. One should look at the legality of the movement. One should consider first establishing one constitution for all African countries. The law should be dealt with first. South Africa had seen how foreign nationals treated its people badly. How could these people be allowed in the country? Could you allow my child to come into your kitchen and allow him to trample on the table? One should be realistic and consider this issue from this perspective.
The people who initiated this AU Agenda 2063 had no political will to implement it. The implementation was problematic because there were countries whose leaders would accept their constitutional terms of office, and those who wanted to stay in power forever. Those included one of the neighbouring countries, whose president wanted to die in power. This agitated national and regional insecurity. More fundamentally, the AU had no power to enforce its rules and principles.
The first step towards the implementation of the AU Agenda 2063 would be to create a capable and effective AU whose mandate was not limited to monitoring nations without having a say over them. To have an ineffective AU organisation in place was a big blunder. Another important factor to take into account was that South Africa was among few nations without rebel groups. It was a stable country. South Africa could not be compared with the DRC and Uganda. There were rebels who were supported by African leaders to get the natural resources of other countries. There was no unity in Africa. How many countries had signed for Gaddafi to be killed, including South Africa? There was no need to be smart on this matter -- one should rather be realistic. He still had a dream of an African organisation that would fight corruption. This would make our continent go very far.
Mr D Gumede (ANC) said that the reality was that the dream of Kwame Nkrumah had been fulfilled at his death. The dream he had could not be realised after his death, because many things had changed. In his days, there were no circumstances that prevailed today. These circumstances had to be explored thoroughly in order to take measures that would lead to unity. The first thing to do was to adopt rules and principles that applied to all nations, as well as institutions to enforce them, such as an African court, bank and other institutions supporting development and democracy. There were no such institutions at the continental level. These institutions should be established prior to thinking about free movement of people.
Issues of national interest and national security ought to be taken into consideration. The AU and SADC protocols should take these factors into consideration before allowing free movement. Free movement of people was no problem insofar as skilled people and investors were concerned. The movement of low and semi-skilled people was a problem, and these groups of foreign nationals would compete with locals for employment. It would always be a problem when these groups of people moved to a country with huge unemployment. The competition between nationals and non-nationals would lead to violence.
The modern social and economic problems had a serious impact on the dream of African unity, unless Africa became a confederation state. The question was whether Africa should operate as a federal state. The question of opening borders for the facilitation of free movement should not be tabled, because the free movement would allow terrorists, rebels, human traffickers and criminals to move freely. It was true that buildings in Johannesburg had been hijacked by foreign criminals. Police officers were being beaten up by foreign criminals. This problem was happening due to the wonderful Constitution South Africa had. However, he felt that the government was failing to implement the Constitution. The Constitution was not progressive to such an extent that foreign nationals should be able beat up law enforcers and walk away scot-free.
Although he viewed free movement as problematic, he supported regional integration in terms of SADC. There was a need to integrate the economies of neighbouring countries. According to the police, various crimes were committed by foreign nationals. The police had stated that there was an increase in armed robberies, and these robberies were being committed by foreign nationals, especially those who were former soldiers in their home country. He said that borders – be they colonial or not – could not vanish just like that. There was a need to manage and control the borderlines. The AU Agenda 2063 was a good dream, but one which was difficult to turn into reality.
The Chairperson thanked Members for their comments and inputs, and felt that there were no direct questions he had drawn from their statements. He said that, in principle, South Africa welcomed foreign nationals and was always ready to interact with other nations to improve on the freedom of movement. However, the AU Agenda 2063 was a dream. It was an aspiration. The academics viewed the Agenda as a revolution. However, no one planned for a revolution, because a real revolution just erupted unannounced. If these things were what Africans wanted, they would revolt and the things said here would result from such a revolution.
Dr Bedzigui told members that there was an AU Constitutive Act, which had been adopted in 2000. The Constitutive Act was an African Constitution. There were various protocols in terms of the AU and other regional bodies. He remarked that he had discovered that Africans were good at crafting good laws, policies and strategies, but they were bad at implementing them. The Constitutive Act was well defined and progressive, compared to the European Union treaty.
Dr Owusu-Sekyere agreed with Members that there were a huge challenges and limitations for the implementation of the AU Agenda 2063. However, these challenges and limitations should be identified and addressed.
Mr Carciotto said that there was a need to change the narrative of current migration. Migration should be seen as not merely flowing from failed states, or push factors such as political instability, poverty, insecurity and terrorism. Migration included workers, students, diplomats, investors, businesspeople, etc. However, the free movement of people should not be understood in the context of opening borders -- it was about adoption of immigration laws that would facilitate the free movement of people. These aspects were reflected in the Green and White Paper on International Migration. These documents talked about the introduction of new forms of visas. Such radical moves should be encouraged. Apart from the AU Agenda 2063 and the White Paper, there was the SADC Protocol on the free movement of people. Although the Protocol was not in force, South Africa was implementing it.
Mr Mfubu disagreed with Members’ argument that foreign nationals were committing crimes and as a result, crimes were on the rise. This argument was not supported by statistics. South Africa was not being overrun by foreigners, who represented 5% of the population. Arguments holding that foreign nationals were criminals were expressed for political purposes, and foreign nationals could not respond to these arguments because they were politically vulnerable and voiceless. No one walked in the street fearing that he would be killed by a foreigner. Rather, people were feeling insecure because of the fear of being killed by a citizen. In other words, people were highly likely to be harmed by a citizen and not a non-citizen.
Dr Mthembu said that the ineffectiveness of the AU should be linked to its funding. He said that 75% of the AU budget came from donors, and the majority of that 75% came from European donors. This was an illustration that the AU had no capacity to turn its dream and aspirations into reality. Although it was difficult to implement the AU vision, African states should start thinking how this beautiful dream could be a reality. This should start with the funding of the AU by Africans. There was the Kagame Report, which suggested reform of the AU. However, there was no mechanism and capacity to enforce, monitor and evaluate those agreements contained in the Report.
The AU was very ambitious. It was especially important to note that the EU, when it was established, started dealing with coal and steel. It did not deal with political issues. Its mandate was expanded gradually as membership increased. On the other hand, the EU had many members that were not adhering to its protocols. For the Agenda to be realised, one had to ask hard questions. One had to pose critical questions on how enabling mechanisms could be established that should be used as a nuanced tool for the realisation of the vision. Africa had resources. It had people. However, there were no good relations between countries. There was no peace and democracy in certain corners of Africa. Democratic countries, along with the AU and other regional bodies, were not getting tough on those dictatorial and undemocratic countries.
Minister Chohan thanked the presenters and asked that their briefs be sent to her. She agreed with many things that had been said. If there was genuine commitment to the realisation of AU aspirations, the focus should not only be on the free movement of people, but rather on good governance, economic development and national security. Priority should be given to having secure and peaceful nations on the continent. Free movement could not be achieved if some countries were insecure and unstable on the one hand, and if some countries did not register their populations.
She urged the Committee to welcome more debate on the AU Agenda 2063 in order to solicit various views on the matter. There should be a continuous debate on the issues of international migration. What she had learned from presentation was that there was a need to create laws that would facilitate the free movement of the people, taking into consideration issues of security and the need to control and manage the borders. There was a common sentiment that priority should be given to addressing the issue of good governance across the continent. Priority should also be given to the creation of institutions supporting good governance, democracy and economic development. Above all, the AU should be an effective organ. There were civil wars around the continent, and these wars along with political instability caused people to move. Among the flow of immigrants were people who could not be identified simply because their home country did not have a population register.
Mr Gumede proposed a vote of thanks, and in his remarks emphasised the national security was a matter falling within the jurisdiction of a nation. The state had to ensure that its territories were safe and secure and that movements at the borders were controlled and managed.
The meeting was adjourned.