09 December 2020 - NW2872
Msane, Ms TP to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation
Whether, given that her department has not fulfilled the agreement on the permanent housing of the Pan – African Parliament, she has considered the implications of not treating the specified matter with the respect and importance it deserves, as it may convey a message that the Republic is not in support of the African united agenda; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?
Yes, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) has treated the matter of providing permanent housing to the Pan-African Parliament with the respect and importance it deserves.
South Africa has hosted the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) since 2004. In terms of the Host Country Agreement between the Republic of South Africa and the African Union Commission on the Seat of the Pan-African Parliament, the Government of South Africa is indeed obliged to provide permanent headquarters for the Pan-African Parliament. The Pan-African Parliament is currently based at the Gallagher Estate in Midrand, Johannesburg until the process to build a permanent headquarters for the Pan-African Parliament is finalised.
The identified site in Midrand for the construction of the PAP headquarters was found to be a wetland by environmental experts leading the project. It was therefore, decided that the project on the site would be closed and could not continue as the Department of Environmental Affairs had determined that any activities on that land are and would always remain illegal.
The matter has been referred to the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI), as the mandated line-function Department to satisfy the duty of providing the Pan-African Parliament with permanent headquarters. The DPWI has indicated that pending some internal investigations, on the original site, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) will be advised accordingly. In this regard, the DPWI has further informed the DIRCO of their application for an urgent interdict to stop construction on the original site until the aforementioned issues have been resolved.
It is envisaged that the forensic investigation may constitute further delays to the fulfilment of the Republic of South Africa’s longstanding commitment to provide permanent headquarters for the Pan-African Parliament. Therefore, the DIRCO has requested the DPWI to assist in expeditiously identifying and procuring an alternative site.
To obviate the impression that the Republic of South Africa is not in support of the African united agenda, in 2019, the Department facilitated the process for the successful signing of the Protocol to the Constitutive Act of the African Union Relating to the Pan-African Parliament of 2014. Moreover, the process for obtaining Cabinet approval for the ratification of the aforementioned instrument is advanced and the Parliamentary processes are being finalised.
In addition, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation continues to unwaveringly fulfil its obligations towards the African Union on the seat of the Pan-African Parliament to the best of its ability.