South Africa to use its privileged position with the SA Development Community region and the African Union in the interest of peace and stability and lobby all African countries to promote globally acceptable tenets of constitutionalism such as limited presidential terms
FOR ORAL REPLY
QUESTION NO: 484 (NO4470E)
PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO.15-2015 OF 28 OCTOBER 2015
MS S V KALYAN (DA) TO ASK THE MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION:
(1) Whether South Africa, as a leading democratic state, will use its privileged position with the SA Development Community region and the African Union in the interest of peace and stability and lobby all African countries to promote globally acceptable tenets of constitutionalism such as limited presidential terms; if not, why not; if so,
(2) Whether she will make a statement on the matter? NO4470E
(1) South Africa has been active in contributing toward the development and implementation of legal frameworks, principles and guidelines on a regional level at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and continentally through the African Union (AU) towards the promotion of democracy and good governance. These legal frameworks include the SADC Treaty, the SADC Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation, the revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections, the Protocol relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.
The SADC Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation in Article 2 (2) (g) states that the SADC Organ shall have the following objectives “promote the development of democratic institutions and practices within the territories of State Parties and encourage the observance of universal human rights as provided for in the Charters and Conventions of the Organisation of African Unity and United Nations respectively”.
Within the context of SADC, all Member States are bound by the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections, which were revised during the last meeting of the Ministerial Committee of the Organ in July 2015. These Principles and Guidelines recognises the supremacy of the Constitutions of the respective Member States while at the same time condemning and rejecting unconstitutional change of government and unjustifiable non-acceptance of results, after due process, as announced by the legally competent authority.
One of the AU instruments is the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance which states in Chapter 8 that State Parties agree that the use of, inter alia, the following illegal means of accessing or maintaining power constitute an unconstitutional change of government and shall draw appropriate sanctions by the Union: “… Any amendment or revision of the constitution or legal instruments, which is an infringement of the principles of democratic change of government.”
Article 25 of the Charter places the responsibility on the Peace and Security Council of the African Union to suspend the said State Party from the activities of the Union where it observes that an unconstitutional change of government has taken place and where diplomatic initiatives have failed.
(2) South Africa will continue, within the multilateral system on the continent and in the region to promote adherence to the legal frameworks and best practices relating to the promotion of democracy and good governance.
The African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) is an AU structure that describes the processes used to address security issues related to conflict, unconstitutional changes of government and peace-making efforts, amongst others. The pillars of APSA were institutionalised by the African Union to give support in preventing, addressing and coping with security threats and mediate viable solutions to prevent disorder after disruptive incidents to national security, i.e. unconstitutional change of government and civil conflict/ wars.
The following legal instruments on the continent support these APSA goals:
(i) African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (1987)
(ii) Lomé Declaration on Unconstitutional Change of Government (2000)
(iii) Constitutive Act of the African Union (2002)
(iv) Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council (2002)
(v) African Union Solemn Declaration on a Common African Defense and Security Policy (2004)
South Africa will continue to encourage the signing and ratification of these legal instruments towards the promotion of democracy on the continent.