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

Working Group on African Union

08 September 2003
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Meeting report

WORKING GROUP ON THE AFRICAN UNION (National Assembly)
9 September 2003
DRAFT MINUTES

These minutes were produced kind courtesy of the Mr M Xaso of the Table Staff.

Chair: Dr F Ginwala

Present:
Speaker (Chairperson)
Deputy Speaker
Deputy Chairperson
Abrahams, T
Bapela, O
Botha, C S (NCOP)
Cassim, M F
Eglin, C
Hajaig, F
Mars, I
Mathee, P A
Mtsweni, N S
Rajbally, S
Sithole, D J
Vilakazi, J N (NCOP)

Apologies
: Davies, R H; Turok, B; Xingwana, L.

Staff in attendance:
Meyer, L (Assistant Secretary); Jenkins, F and Lenzie, D (Parliamentary Law Advice Office); Matyolo, L L (NCOP Table); Xaso, M and Adonis, J (NA Table); Gabriel, L (Information Services Unit).

1. Introduction

The Speaker indicated that the eighth report had been tabled and copies would be circulated to members. The agenda was rearranged as follows:

  • Debate on AU/PAP
  • Establishment of Committee on AU and SADC
  • Fourth Seminar on the African Union
  • Consideration of minutes of 2 September 2003

2. Debate on the AU/PAP

The Speaker reported that the debate had been arranged for 25 September 2003. She asked members to consider whether the debate should focus specifically on the PAP or the AU in general. A further report would be tabled at the beginning of the week of 25 September. The eighth report was not necessarily for adoption, but raised issues for further consideration. The Working Group could, at its further meetings, identify issues in the report for adoption by the House.

The Deputy Speaker suggested that the debate should assist to increase the understanding of PAP issues among members. It should assist Parliament to prepare itself to participate in the PAP. The Speaker indicated that the debate could deal with how regions, as building blocks, should be linked to the Pan African Parliament. Mr Eglin suggested that the debate should deal with how the PAP intended to involve the peoples of Africa in its processes. The Speaker read out Article 17 of the Constitutive Act as follows: "In order to ensure the full participation of the African peoples in the development and economic integration of the continent a PAP shall be established."

The Speaker intimated that the Act, therefore, envisaged the Union as the political integration point and the Parliament as the mechanism to directly engage the people.

Mr Mahlangu stated that the NCOP would also consider having a debate on the PAP. In this regard, the provisions of the Constitutive Act would be taken into account. The Deputy Speaker suggested that provincial legislatures could be used to promote public awareness of the PAP, adding that the NCOP might want to consider this matter in its deliberations on the PAP.

 

Agreed:

  • The following broad topics to be presented to the Programme Committee for a decision on the topic of the debate:

 

The debate should assist to increase an understanding of PAP among members.

It should assist Parliament to prepare itself to participate in the PAP.

How should regions, as building blocks, be linked to the Pan African Parliament?

How would the PAP involve the peoples of Africa in its processes?

 

Article 17 of the Constitutive Act: In order to ensure the full participation of the African peoples in the development and economic integration of the continent a PAP shall be established.

  • Members to also discuss the topics within their parties.
  • The reports of the Working Group, particularly the eighth report, to be used as the basis for the debate.

3. Contents of Institute for Security Studies (ISS) CD on African Regional

Organisations: From Unity to Union

The Speaker explained that the following information was available on CD in Parliament's Library for members to access.

Key Documents (1963-2001) of the:

 

Organisation of African Unity (OAU)

  • Overview
  • Treaties, Conventions, Protocols and Rules of Procedure
  • Heads of State and Government Summits/Assemblies: 1963-2001
  • Council of Ministers Meetings: 1963-2001
  • Other key OAU Documents

 

Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)

  • Overview
  • Treaties, Conventions, Protocols

 

Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)

  • Overview
  • Treaties, Conventions, Protocols

 

Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)

  • Overview
  • Treaties, Conventions, Protocols

 

Southern African Development Community (SADC)

  • Overview
  • Treaties, Conventions, Protocols

 

Agreed:

  • The Library to update the information on a regular basis.

4. Establishment of Committee on AU and SADC

The Speaker explained that this Committee would replace the Working Group. The Houses could at a later stage still decide to establish other Working Groups. The Committee would engage with the delegations to the PAP and the SADC Forum/Parliament with a view to preparing them for meetings (including the giving of mandates). It would also engage with the Executive on the AU and SADC. She referred to the terms of reference contained in the report which was prepared by staff. She said that the Committee would deal with cross-sectoral issues including issues pertaining to foreign relations. Therefore, its terms of reference would be beyond those of Portfolio Committees.

Mr Bapela sought clarity on whether the Committee would also deal with other issues apart from the AU. The Speaker indicated that once the African Central Bank was in place, this Committee could also consider the response of the Executive to its establishment and activities. There would be a number of issues for the Committee to consider, including issues pertaining to the Peace and Security Council.

Mr Eglin indicated that Portfolio Committees were created to hold the Executive accountable on behalf of Parliament. He argued that there was a difference between Parliament acting as a member of the PAP and the South African Parliament holding its own Executive to account on AU issues. The Speaker responded that the Constitution did not provide for the Executive to account to committees but to Parliament. Parliament, in terms of the Constitution, had powers to create the kind of committees it wanted. Therefore, it was possible for Parliament to determine the nature and type of committees it should establish. In view of globalisation, committees were often being asked to confer when dealing with international instruments precisely because, increasingly, issues being considered by Parliamentary committees were cross-sectoral in nature.

She indicated, however, that the terms of reference of the proposed Committee would need to be further considered. Mr Bapela suggested that in the terms of reference, reference should be made to the envisaged SADC Parliament. The Speaker agreed, adding that Nepad was a structure of the AU and should be reflected as such in the document. Members to serve on the PAP should be referred to as "members" rather than "delegates".

 

Agreed:

  • Composition of the Committee to be discussed further at a later stage.
  • Speaker to refer the document (working draft) on the establishment of the Committee to political parties, Chairperson of Committees and the NCOP for consideration.
  • Support staff for the Committee to be discussed at a later stage (reference to dedicated staff to be deleted from the document)

4. Fourth Seminar on the African Union

After deliberations on the draft programme for the Seminar the following decisions were taken:

 

Agreed:

  • Seminar to be held during the committee week in October 2003.
  • Parties to discuss issues previously referred to them, before the seminar.
  • Programme for the Seminar to be focused rather than deal with overviews.
  • Overviews to be raised during questions and debate, and not as part of the objectives.
  • Rather than discuss the full text of the Protocol, seminar to consider particular sections thereof.
  • Seminar to also consider the functioning of regional caucuses as building blocks for the PAP.
  • Relationship of the PAP with the existing organs of the AU to be discussed viz: Peace and Security Council, Council of Ministers and other structures of the AU.
  • Discussion on the vision of the PAP to be promoted higher up in the programme.
  • Discussion on Nepad to be removed from the draft programme for the time being.

 

 

 

The full text of the programme as amended is attached as Annexure A.

Meeting of SADC PF

The Speaker reported that the SADC PF would have its meeting from 1 to 6 December 2003. The Seminar might also need to discuss the transformation of the SADC PF into a Parliament.

 

Agreed:

  • The report of the Maseru meeting of the SADC PF to be circulated.

5. Consideration of minutes of 2 September 2003 and matters arising

(1) Adoption of minutes

The Speaker indicated that corrections, if any, should be forwarded to the Secretariat. On the motion of Mrs Mars, seconded by Ms Rajbally, the minutes were adopted.

(2) Ratifications

The Speaker mentioned that she had been advised on 8 September that Angola had gazetted the ratification.

(3) Election procedures and NCOP involvement in PAP

Election of members of the PAP and the involvement of the NCOP would be dealt with at a later stage.

(4) Eighth report on the African Union

The Speaker mentioned that the eighth report contained issues that still needed further consideration by parties.

(5) Membership of the PAP

Mr Eglin indicated that members of the East African Legislative Assembly, once elected to the Assembly, ceased to be Parliamentarians in the Parliaments that elected them. This was because it would be impossible for them to adequately pay attention to the responsibilities of both the Assembly and the Parliaments of origin. The Speaker indicated that if the PAP were to follow that practice, the Protocol would need to be amended.

(6) African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM)

The Speaker indicated that the Department of Foreign Affairs would report to the Working Group on the national structure being established to respond to the APRM. The report emanating from the meeting of experts on the APRM would be circulated. Recently a meeting was held of sixteen countries that had agreed to be reviewed under the APRM, including South Africa. The report of the meeting would also be circulated to members. Regarding the formation of a Parliamentary structure on Nepad, both Dr Davies and Prof Turok had been requested to make proposals on the matter. She explained that the APRM was a mechanism established by the Nepad to consider compliance of member countries with a range of programmes including good corporate governance and interaction with civil society. Portfolio Committees on Transport, Trade and Industry and Minerals and Energy would need to be engaged in deliberations on the Nepad programme.

 

Agreed:

  • Report by Prof Turok on the Nepad meeting held in Kenya to be circulated.
  • Outstanding reports on Nepad and APRM to be circulated as soon as possible.
  • Codes on APRM to be published on the Parliamentary website.
  • If the relevant material was available, Nepad and APRM to be discussed at the next meeting of the Working Group.

6.Establishment of Task Team to consider Rules of Procedure of PAP

The Speaker reported that she had received a set of Rules and a background document on the PAP from the Deputy Clerk of the Kenyan Parliament. The Working Group had its own set of Draft Rules that had been compiled by Mr P Lilienfeld. She suggested that a Task Team be established to consider the Draft Rules.

 

Agreed:

  • A Task Team to be established to consider the Draft Rules, including those submitted by the Deputy Clerk of the Kenyan Parliament.
  • Deputy Speaker and Deputy Chairperson to chair the Task Team.
  • The Co-chairs to propose the composition of the Task Team.
  • Procedural staff to assist the Task Team in its functioning.
  • The Task Team to prioritise rules dealing with election of Presiding Officers, the Oath and Rules about PAP committees.
  • Speaker to table the Draft Rules at the meeting of the Steering Committee during the week of 23 September.
  • Steering Committee to prioritise issues to be considered by Parliaments.

The meeting adjourned at 09:30.

 

 

 

[Annexure A]

Fourth Seminar on the African Union: Draft Agenda (09 September 2003)

Theme:

The Pan African Parliament

 

Objectives:

  1. To enhance the understanding of the African Union amongst Members of the South African Parliament.
  2. To foster institutional engagement on the African Union with particular reference to the Pan African Parliament.
  3. To empower Members to have ongoing dialogue with the people of South Africa and embark on public awareness activities with respect to the African Union.

Duration:

Two days.

Proposed dates (subject to decisions of the Joint Programming Committee):

Tuesday, 14 - Wednesday, 15 October 2003 or

Monday, 20 - Tuesday, 21 October 2003.

 

______________________________________________

 

Session One: Establishing the Organs of the African Union

  1. Summary of the decisions of the 2nd Summit of the AU - highlight key decisions and challenges.
  2. Progress on the establishment of organs of the AU:
    1. Executive Council
    2. Peace & Security Council
    3. Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC)
    4. Commission

    Session Two: A Vision for the Pan-African Parliament

  3. Report of meeting of African Parliaments (Cape Town, July 2003).
  4. Relationship with National Parliaments, SADC Parliamentary Forum/Parliament:
    1. The functioning of Regional Parliaments and their role in decision-making.
    2. Update on establishment of the SADC Parliament.
  5. Relationship and mechanisms for engagement between the Pan African Parliament and other organs of the AU:
    1. Assembly
    2. Executive Council
    3. Commission
    4. Peace & Security Council
    5. Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC)

     

    Session Three: The Protocol on the Pan African Parliament

  6. Progress on the establishment of the Pan African Parliament.
    1. Report of the Steering Committee on the PAP.
  7. The Protocol on the Pan African Parliament with particular reference to matters related to the inaugural session.
  8. Implications for the South African Parliament.
  9.  

    Session Four: Popularisation of the African Union by the South African Parliament

  10. Benefits for South African citizens.
  11. Role of Members of Parliament.
  12. Opportunities, modes and mechanisms for popularisation.

 

Closing Session

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