The ANC has noted with dismay and deep concern the latest developments at the Fourth Ordinary Session of the Pan African Parliament (PAP) which saw the session adjourned for later in the year. The disagreements and disruptions that occurred inside the House of Parliament on the 31st of May and the 1st of June 2021 as the Pan African Parliament was preparing to elect the President and Vice Presidents of its Bureau led to the inevitable suspension of this Parliament.
As a host country for the inaugural launch of the African Union in Durban 2002, as well as having successfully tabled a bid to host the PAP on our shores in 2004, the ANC attaches great importance to the pursuit of African unity and continental integration.
It is therefore deeply concerning that at this Session in Midrand that
the principle of rotational leadership and equitable geographical spread was undermined. The ANC calls for the maintenance of this principle as well as its sanctity to be promoted and protected.
The ANC reiterates its support to the long-standing tradition of the African Union (AU), which has been adopted from its predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) on rotational leadership. Rotational leadership constituted the core debate that led to the disruption of proceedings in the PAP. Our continent is diverse and rich with capable and talented leaders from North to South, East to West and all its beautiful Islands. We do not have the scarcity of leadership in the continent and therefore, it should not be a problem if we agree on the regional rotation of leaders. This guarantees good neighbourliness and entrenches the spirit of Ubuntu.
It cannot be right that since the inception of the PAP in 2004, power at its highest echelons has been centralized and circulated amongst the Western, Eastern and Central regions repeatedly to the exclusion of both the Northern and Southern regions.
This state of affairs undermines African unity and meaningful integration of the continent’s Parliament that ought to be the voice of the ordinary African masses. Thus, at its next seating this matter must be addressed.
Our country, South Africa, supported the principle of gender equality as enshrined in the protocols of both the African Union as well as in the Pan African Parliament. We, therefore, condemn in the strongest possible terms acts of gender-based violence perpetrated against both men and women.
Similarly, we commend the courage and bravery displayed by our Chief Whip in the National Assembly as well as South Africa’s representative to the Pan African Parliament, Comrade Pemmy Majodina, who stood firm on principle in the face of masculinity and physical abuse at the risk of her own safety in defence of the long-held principle of rotational leadership.
However, the ANC still maintains that violence has no space in our institutions of democracy, especially when we are engaged in a robust programme of building a better Africa and the world.
As a country, we condemn gender-based violence wherever it rears its ugly head.
We call on the Department of International Relations and Co-operation (DIRCO) to express our dismay through the necessary diplomatic channels.
The Pan African Parliament must be a home for all, and diplomatic immunities and privileges that member states carry do not give them a license to abuse and assault each other.
The ANC also wishes to express its appreciation to the AU for giving South Africa the opportunity to host the Pan African Parliament and we submit our highest regards to all the MPs from different countries in the continent who braved this season of COVID-19 to be with us in South Africa. We wish to assure them that they are safe in our country, and we condemn anyone, including in the Pan African Parliament, who threatens their safety in South Africa. We continue to engender our view of growing intra Africa Trade which has been inaugurated by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). We reiterate what we said during our difficult past in our struggle against apartheid, that: “South Africa cannot be an Island of prosperity in a sea of poverty”
ISSUED BY THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS