Achievements of the African Union Ministerial Committee on post-conflict Reconstruction and Development in Southern Sudan since the Chairpersonship of South Africa

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

 FOR ORAL REPLY

QUESTION NO: NO.  11

PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO 3 OF 23 FEBRUARY 2010

Ms T B Sunduza (ANC) to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation:

1. (a) What has been the achievements of the African Union Ministerial Committee on post-conflict Reconstruction and Development in Southern Sudan since the chairpersonship of South Africa;

(b) What form of assistance has South Africa provided in partnership with its development partners in bringing about a post-conflict reconstruction and development in Southern Sudan;

2. Whether Sudan is now ready to hold general elections; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details

3. Whether Sudan is ready to hold free and fair elections; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?

REPLY:

1.  (a) The AU established the Ministerial Committee on Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development in the Sudan in July 2003 and elected South Africa to lead the work of the Committee and South Africa continues to chair the committee.

The Committee has made significant strides on all three aspects of its mandate namely:

i. assess the post-conflict development needs of the Sudan
ii. mobilise African and other support for meeting the development
challenges in the Sudan; and
iii. advocate support for Sudan in international developmental forums.

In 2005 a ministerial delegation of the committee conducted a comprehensive needs assessment in the Sudan.  Thereafter, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr NC Dlamini Zuma, led a Ministerial delegation to the 2005 Oslo Donor Conference where she articulated the African position on the post-conflict development needs of the Sudan.

Since 2005 several delegations of the Committee have visited the Sudan to identify emerging needs.

The Committee most recently met on 30 January 2010 in Addis Ababa on the margins of the African Union Summit.

Here it was resolved that the AU Ministerial Committee would undertake an assessment visit  to the Sudan in the first quarter of 2010 to reinvigorate its work as called for by the Tripoli Plan of Action of 31 August 2009. In essence, this visit would determine post-conflict reconstruction and development needs in light of the upcoming elections in April 2010 and the self-determination referendum in Southern Sudan to be held in January 2011.

(b) South Africa has been integrally involved in capacity building projects in the Sudan. South Africa, working in partnership with the University of SouthAfrica (UNISA) and the Government of Southern Sudan, embarked on a Capacity and Institution Building Project which has trained more than 1,500 officials from the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS). South Africa’s Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy (PALAMA), is in the process of establishing a Management Development Institute in Southern Sudan to provide training to officials in the public service. The Department of Higher Education has offered five scholarships to senior education planners in the GOSS Ministry of Education to do post-graduate work at the University of the Witwatersrand. The South African Police Services (SAPS) is in the process of providing training to the Sudan Police Services and the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has committed itself to providing capacity building to the nascent judiciary and legal affairs institutions.

Importantly, South Africa’s post-conflict reconstruction and development efforts in Southern Sudan have attracted additional interest from donors who wish to engage in trilateral partnerships.

2. One of the major provisions of the CPA was to ensure that the Sudan holds national general elections in 2010 to be followed by a referendum on self-determination for the people of Southern Sudan in 2011. In this regard, significant progress has been made in ensuring that the Sudan holds the general elections as per the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) provisions. The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) continues to dispute the credibility of the census results and has demanded that they not be used for the purposes of determining geographical constituencies or in determining the seat allocation in the National Assembly. Furthermore, the armed movements in Darfur continue their demand that elections cannot be held in Darfur in the prevailing security and political environment of the region.  One of the key demands of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in signing the recent Framework Peace Agreement with the Government of the Sudan was that elections should be held in April 2010 but at a later date.

South Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission, with the support of donor funding, has agreed to a programme of assistance with its Sudanese counterpart, including logistical training for staff, support in the establishment of information technology systems and conduction of workshops on the role of the media in elections.

3. The Elections Law passed in 2009 enshrines the basic principles for the holding of free and fair elections. Both parties to the CPA and other political parties have expressed a commitment to contribute to the holding of free and fair elections. These elections are critical for the stability and security of the Sudan and therefore the stakes remain high. As a commitment to holding free and fair elections, the Government of Sudan has allowed various election observers into the Sudan to monitor the process leading up to the elections and the election period itself. The African Union, the European Union and the Carter Centre have been invited as observers to the elections. The AU High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) led by former President Thabo Mbeki, is also planning a Summit for all political parties of which one outcome would be the signing of an Electoral Code of Conduct.

Nonetheless, key challenges for free and fair elections are present. The opposition parties dispute the recently passed Security Law which they say does not contribute to an environment for free and fair elections as it gives extraordinary powers to the security services to detain people for extended periods in the name of maintaining national security. As noted above the security situation in Darfur poses significant challenges. In addition, the fragile security situation in Southern Sudan poses additional difficulties as communities continue to clash over land and water resources.


 

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