Address to the debate on the New Partnership
for Africa's Development
National Council of Provinces, Cape Town, 18 March 2003
Honourable Members and Delegates,
I am indeed very happy to join you in the National
Council of Provinces, to discuss the critical challenges
we face in the country and continent.
Madame Chairperson, the NCOP is the perfect forum to
discuss the issue of the New Partnership for Africa's
Development (NEPAD), as it provides an opportunity to
interact with government at all levels.
The NEPAD programme is critical to the reconstruction
and development of the continent. It is therefore important
that all sectors of society become involved in it. It
should develop into a concrete programme of action,
involving all of us at all levels and sectors, both
governmental and non-governmental.
It should be possible to develop an all-encompassing
programme of action because there is general consensus
in the continent about the value and importance of NEPAD.
Most importantly, NEPAD introduces a new style of social,
economic and political governance. It is designed to
make leaders accountable not only to the populations,
but to their peers and neighbours as well.
NEPAD's African Peer Review Mechanism is based on the
reality that our destinies are intertwined as African
countries, and that we need to be aware that our actions
will influence our neighbours in a particular way.
Madam Chairperson, the importance of parliamentary
oversight as we strive for the revival of the continent
cannot be over-emphasised. The establishment of the
Pan-African Parliament, another key AU structure, is
therefore vital. We believe members of this House can
play a key role through this institution.
Our parliamentarians can seize the opportunity by forming
linkages with their colleagues in the continent and
beyond, to market NEPAD as well as monitor its implementation.
You would, through such parliament-to-parliament linkages,
transcend boundaries that governments may not be able
to bridge, and promote popular democratic practices
throughout the continent.
Madame Chairperson, given the many opportunities offered
by the establishment of the Pan African Parliament,
we are concerned that thus far, only ten countries have
ratified the Protocol. We therefore, hope that AU member
states that have not signed and ratified the Protocol,
will do so in order to expedite the launch of this important
continental oversight body.
Colleagues, related to the implementation of NEPAD,
is the imperative of eradicating conflicts in some parts
of the continent. There is a clear correlation between
peace and stability on the one hand, and economic growth
and sustainable development on the other.
Driven by this goal of creating a better Africa, South
Africa is actively involved in conflict resolution in
Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and other
parts of the continent. Substantial progress has been
made in these endeavours already.
With regards to Burundi, we have secured three out
of four ceasefire agreements, signed by the armed movements
and political parties and the Transitional Government
of Burundi. Work is continuing to implement the ceasefire
agreements and where challenges arise, we are pleased
that the various parties are always open to discussions
and to finding solutions.
We believe Burundi has been through the worst already,
and that the situation can only improve. Although challenges
may arise, the processes and structures exist to resolve
these, both within Burundi and externally. The eventual
return to constitutional legitimacy and democracy remains
critical for Burundi and other conflict-ridden sister
countries. We hope the belligerent parties realise the
urgency with which this needs to happen.
The African Union continues efforts to ensure a return
to peace and stability in Sudan, Comoros, Somalia, Western
Sahara and Cote d'Ivoire.
To ensure lasting peace, there is a need for the establishment
of new political systems, which would take into account
the diversity within these societies. Diversity and
difference should be viewed as providing opportunities
rather than as a threat to certain political classes.
The opportunities exist for vibrant, viable democratic
political systems and institutions to arise in these
sister countries. Also critical is the creation of the
necessary checks and balances.
The establishment of inclusive democratic political
systems would permit the renewal of mandates, or the
replacement of governments should the electorate so
decide, within the context of the constitution.
It would eliminate the reason for armed rebellions
and other unconstitutional activity. In this context,
Madam Chairperson, we condemn the coup d tat in the
Central African Republic over the weekend, and we are
sure that members of this House join us in doing so.
I would like to invite the NCOP to find ways of assisting
the Barundi people in particular, and other peoples
affected by strife in general, in their search for lasting
Interaction and sharing of experiences with parliamentarians
in these countries would assist in spreading the message
of peace, as well as in promoting democracy and good
governance throughout the continent.
Madam Chairperson, NEPAD has all the right elements
which should make it succeed in extricating the continent
from the abyss of underdevelopment, poverty and conflicts.
It is for this reason that we spare no effort in creating
the right conditions for it to succeed, whether locally
or outside the continent.
It is this determination to succeed, among other things,
which make us concerned about the global security situation,
in particular the American-led campaign against Iraq.
It is our well-considered view, that a war in Iraq
will aggravate the misery and poverty in Africa and
other parts of the developing world. We believe it would
reverse all our gains achieved through the NEPAD initiative,
as it has the potential to push Africa to the backburner
in the international arena.
We hope the United States and its allies can still
find it possible to avert war even at this eleventh
hour, and allow the United Nations to deal with this
Madam Chairperson, thank you for allowing me the opportunity
to interact with colleagues in this House. I hope there
will be more interaction on this topic in the NCOP as
the year progresses.
It is an important matter that requires the collective
wisdom of the public representatives gathered here.
I Thank You.