PAP 11th Conference of Speakers: South Africa expresses concern over the Malabo Protocol - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Monday, September 5, 2022

PAP 11th Conference of Speakers: South Africa expresses concern over the Malabo Protocol

Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces Chairperson, Hon. Amos Masondo, has expressed reservations over certain provisions in the Malabo Protocol which is undergoing ratification by African Union (AU) member States.

Under a constitution which came into full effect in 1997, the National Council of Provinces is the upper house of the Parliament of South Africa.

The Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community relating to the Pan-African Parliament adopted by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) in June 2014 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, also known as Malabo Protocol has so far been ratified by fourteen member States and requires fourteen more ratifications to come into force.

Masondo was speaking at the second day of the 11th Conference of Speakers of National and Regional Parliaments, held at the PAP headquarters in Midrand from 01 – 02 September 2022.

He expressed concern over Article 5(1)(a) of the Protocol which provides that the National Parliament, or other deliberative body, shall elect from outside its membership five Members to serve in the PAP. This places an obligation on National Parliaments to elect people who are not members of their national parliament to represent the interest of the country at a continental level. “Who will they be reporting to when they return from parliament” he queried.

Masondo stated that it was unclear how these independent people would account to Parliament and what recourse would Parliament have against those independent people if they fail to or refuse to account to Parliament.

Another area of concern is Article 5(6) which provides that for the avoidance of doubt, an MP from a National Parliament or other deliberative body is eligible to contest an election to the PAP. The Article further provides that, if elected, the Member shall resign from the National Parliament or other deliberative body.

Masondo maintained that this provision leaves such a Member with no clear line of accountability because the members of parliament are elected to represent the interests of the people in Parliament and to account for every aspect of their work as the representatives of the people.

On the two and half (21/2) year tenure for the members of the Bureau of the Parliament renewable once, Masondo submitted that it will create instability since the tenure of the members of the Parliament is five years. In his opinion, the tenure of the Bureau should have been the same five (5) years for the members of the Parliament.

He stated that Article 10 (1) and (2) which provides that the Pan-African Parliamentarians shall be paid allowances by their respective State Parties is an objectionable provision as it was unthinkable that State Parties would continue to pay allowances to independent people elected outside the normal electoral processes of the Member State.

Chairperson Masondo said Article 19(2) of the Protocol is one of the very crucial provisions of the reviewed Protocol as it provides that the PAP shall periodically submit a report in writing on its work to National Parliaments for information. He said this was a very important step as it seeks to ensure accountability. The submission of these reports will ensure that National Parliaments are aware of what the PAP is doing, and where necessary, debates the reports of the PAP, said the Chairperson adding that this is a good step as it will ensure accountability and could also assist in popularising the PAP in the Member States and communities.

The Chairperson said Article 4(3) of the Malabo Protocol will mark a departure from the current protocol as it will increase the number of females in each country delegation from one to two and a delegation which does not satisfy this requirement shall not have the right to be accredited for representation in the PAP.

#Pan-African Parliament       #PAP         #Conference of Speakers of National and Regional Parliaments in Africa        #Speakers’ Conference

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