Address at The Meeting of African Parliaments
on The Pan African Parliament
Cape Town, Western Cape Monday, 30 June 2003
The Chairperson of the Steering Committee, Dr Frene
Honourable Members of Parliament from the Southern African
Honourable Members of African Parliaments
I am very pleased to have this opportunity to attend
this meeting of Presiding Officers and Members of Parliament
from parliaments of the African Union.
We are delighted to have this meeting in our country.
Colleagues, the dream of a better organised and united
Africa is a dream that Africans have dared to dream
for decades. It is also this vision that had inspired
the formation of the Organisation for African Unity,
and last year the African Union.
I think we all agree that one of the most important
instruments of the AU is contained in the Protocol calling
for the establishment of a Pan- African Parliament.
This is so because a parliament in which the voices
of all Africans are heard is a necessary tool, not only
to deepen democracy but also to give expression to the
aspirations of Africans everywhere.
The launch of a Pan-African Parliament will truly herald
a new dawn for the peoples of Africa. It would, for
the first time, at a continental level, give a voice
to elected African representatives to monitor, and hold
accountable the leaders of our time.
As we embark on the African century and make the African
renaissance a tangible reality, we begin to seriously
tackle the many challenges we face.
We are also establishing institutions to enable Africa
to play its rightful role in the world.
As elected parliamentarians we must be acutely aware
of our responsibilities and the challenges we face if
we are to serve the interests of the people.
Article 16 of the Constitutive Act states, and I quote:
"In order to ensure the full participation of the
people...a Pan African Parliament shall be established."
The participation of the people in democratic institutions,
and the ability of parliamentarians to fight for the
interests of the people, will ensure the success of
the Pan African Parliament.
Colleagues, Africa has for many decades yearned for
peace and development.
Many of her sons and daughters have perished, and many
young African lives have been torn apart from violent
We need to address the root causes of conflict and
poverty that is often a tragic consequence. As an organ
of the African Union, your participation in conflict
resolution and conflict management is critical and I
hope once established, the Pan African Parliament will
play a key role in this regard.
Honourable members, the role of women in conflict resolution,
and also in affairs of the Continent is a crucial one.
We should therefore applaud the fact that at least one
of the five representatives of each country will have
to be a woman. African women have a lot to contribute
and are already playing a key role in governance in
this continent and should be present in the Continent's
All of us are aware that the establishment of a continental
Parliament is a crucial step in the full establishment
of the AU. The Protocol establishing the Pan-African
Parliament (PAP) requires ratification by a simple majority
of Member States.
While we are pleased that as of 28 April 2003, 30 Member
States had signed, we appeal for greater enthusiasm,
as only 19 have ratified it, including Botswana, Libya,
Malawi, Mali, Namibia, Rwanda, SADR, Seychelles, South
Africa, Sudan, Tanzania and Togo. We therefore need
at least 8 more ratifications to meet the required 27.
We are aware that the Steering Committee of the Parliament
met on 28 April 2003 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We welcome
the work done by the Steering Committee, and take this
opportunity to congratulate Dr. Frene Ginwala, the Speaker
of the South African Parliament on being elected chairperson.
We are pleased that in this meeting you considered
strategies on expediting the ratification and entry
into force of the PAP Protocol and also exchanged views
on the vision of the Pan African Parliament.
Colleagues would be aware of South Africa's offer to
host this important institution. We are confident that,
with the cooperation of all Member States, we can successfully
play this role, and hope you will support us in this
We are all looking forward to the establishment of
the African Parliament.
The reason why we believe it is important is that with
the changing political and economic landscape of the
Continent, and with the vision that the leaders in the
Continent are articulating in the Constitutive Act of
the AU, we need a way of ensuring that these good things
are implemented within reasonable time frames.
The Pan African Parliament is so far the only appropriate
institution to ensure that governments and states in
the Continent implement the AU programmes by exercising
the oversight on governments and states.
The Pan African Parliament is the only single continental
institution that is composed by the public representatives
who are elected by the overwhelming population of the
Continent. If this is the case, the question is what
are we doing in preparing ourselves in playing this
role. How effective can we play this role?
These are pertinent questions for the meeting parliamentarians
to address for the good of our Continent. As parliamentarians
we need to put the interests of the people in the Continent
To me these are major challenges that the MPs, as they
discuss the Pan African Parliament, should address concretely
and effectively. Time has come for us not to leave things
to chance or assume that things will come right on their
own. We need to be proactive.
Let me wish you well in your important deliberations
over the next two days.
I am sure that you will come up with the correct ideas
on how to expedite the ratification and operationalisation
I wish you successful deliberations in your session.
I Thank You.