Ways that South Africa has utilised its position as the Chair of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union in the month of July 2015 towards building peace in Africa, for the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Freedom Charter since it was adopted in 1955

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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

FOR ORAL REPLY

QUESTION NO: 223 (NO3023E)

PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO: 7 -2015 OF 12 AUGUST 2015

MR MSA MASANGO (ANC) TO ASK THE MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION:

In view of the country’s celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Freedom Charter since it was adopted in 1955 and in view of the Freedom Charter’s last principle that enjoins us to contribute towards the building of peace and friendship in the country, Africa and the world, in what ways has the country utilised its position as the Chair of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union in the month of July 2015 towards building peace in Africa? NO3023E

REPLY:

As a member of the African Union, we have been afforded the privilege of Chairing the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) for the month of July 2015, in accordance with Article 8 (6) of the Protocol relating to the establishment of the Peace and Security Council.  The provision allows AUPSC members to chair Council meetings on a rotating basis. This also took place during the month celebrating the birth and legacy of our beloved former President Nelson Mandela.

As the Chair of the Council, South Africa focussed on enhancing the capacity  of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), which includes the AUPSC itself, early warning capacity, peace-making and post-conflict reconstruction and development. As South Africa, we equally wanted to bring to the spotlight the issue of peace, justice and reconciliation, particularly the need to strike a balance between these important objectives.

South Africa continues to monitor the situation in Burundi. President Zuma sent a Special Envoy to Burundi to engage with the leadership.

On 23 July we convened an Open Session focussing on the issue of Peace, Justice and Reconciliation. The objective was to re-emphasize the importance of the key elements underpinning efforts to bring healing in societies currently afflicted by and those emerging from conflicts.

A Ministerial Session was held on 24 July in Addis Ababa to consider the Report of the Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan, which was led by His Excellency Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Commission’s mandate was to investigate human rights and other abuses in the conflict in South Sudan. The Ministers also received updates on a number of peace initiatives and mediation efforts in that country. The meeting was unanimous in its view that while it condemned impunity and lack of accountability, the peace processes should also be nurtured and promoted. Given the urgency of the situation in South Sudan, the meeting called for the convening of a Summit of the AU Peace and Security Council in August 2015 to receive the reports of the Commission and the Ad Hoc Committee of the AUPSC. It is expected that further concrete steps will emerge out of this meeting, in terms of charting the way forward.

South Africa also presided over a meeting on enhancement of the continent’s Early Warning Capacity (EWC) and another on revitalizing the Post-Conflict and Reconstruction and Development (PCRD) mechanism in Africa. Central to these two themes is the imperative of identifying and addressing the root causes of conflicts, with the ultimate aim of achieving sustainable peace and development in our continent. 

I have no doubt that South Africa has made a significant contribution to peace and stability in Africa and commits itself to continue to remain fully engaged in challenges facing our continent, beyond our membership of the AUPSC. In this way, the vision as envisaged in the Freedom Charter, to build peace and friendly relations in the country, Africa and the world, remains a priority.

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