Opening Address by Deputy-Minister Candith Mashego-Dlamini at the official opening of the First Statutory Committees Sitting of the Six Parliament of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), at the PAP precinct in Midrand, 06 March 2023
Your Excellency, President of the Pan-African Parliament,
Right Honourable, Chief Fortune Charumbira,
Pan-African Parliament Bureau Members,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Honourable Members of the Pan-African Parliament,
Ladies and gentlemen,
On behalf of the Government of South Africa and its people it is my great privilege to welcome you all in our beautiful country for the First Statutory Committees Sitting of the Six Parliament of the Pan-African Parliament.
The PAP Committees Sitting is convened under the African Union 2023 theme of the year “The Year of AfCFTA: Acceleration of the African Continental Free Trade Area Implementation” and this finds expression with the profound vision for the establishment of the Pan-African Parliament, to ensure the full participation of African peoples in the economic development and integration of the continent.
It is worth-noting that the PAP Committees Sitting takes place on the backdrop of a successful 36th AU Summit held at the AU Headquarters in Ethiopia, from 18 to 19 February 2023, which urged the AU Member States to double the spirit of Pan-Africanism, Solidarity and Brotherhood by accelerating the operationalisation of the AfCFTA.
In this regard by hosting the PAP Committees Sitting under the AU 2023 theme of the year is a clear demonstration of the PAP’s resolve and commitment to work towards the realisation of this significant AU and strategic policy framework.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and the first decade of Agenda 2063. It is therefore quite crucial to invest efforts to complete with tenacity and fervour the work begun by our founding fathers, to ensure that Africa occupies its rightful place in history and restore its dignity.
The PAP’s oversight role is therefore important in pursuit of fostering economic growth and prosperity in Africa. The PAP remains an integral part towards the realisation of “Africa We Want” as a pan-African drive for unity, self-determination, freedom, progress and collective prosperity.
In echoing one of the greatest Pan-Africanists in the diaspora, Bob Marley “Africa Unite: How good and pleasant it would be to see the unification of all Africans”.
The programme of the Committees Sitting reflects many current issues, including Model Laws on Climate Change, a timely instrument that will assist our continues respond to the adverse impacts of climate change. You may recall that at the recently concluded African Union Summit held on 18 – 18 February 2023 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia endorsed an initiative by the Republic of Congo to launch an African and World Decade on Afforestation as a response to the accelerating climate change. In this regard, the Republic of Congo will host the first International Conference on Afforestation and Reforestation from 11 – 12 November 2023, a worth conference that I would like to encourage all of us to support. Your deliberation should also serve as a build-up towards the Climate Change COP28 set to take place in Dubai, from 30 November – 12 December 2023.
Similarly, the Model Law of Soil Management will assist us to ensure food security sovereignty in view of the current global food crisis that has impacted food security in most of our countries. This Model Law will hopefully bult on the efforts His Excellency of President of Senegal Macky Sall of Senegal who hosted the DAKAR 2 Summit from 25 – 27 January 2023 under the theme “Feeding Africa: Food Sovereignty and Resilience”, as well as efforts to accelerate the implementation of the Comprehensive Agricultural Development Programme, better known as the CAADP.
We look forward to your continued efforts to interrogate the Ten-Year AU Action Plan top end child labour, forced labour and human trafficking with a view to ensuring implementation at the national level to protect our children, but also our nationals from trafficking across borders.
The work of the Parliament is indeed central to influence the continental policy formulation, ranging from statelessness, migration and labour migration governance, place of traditional medicine in African health systems, and renewable energy and carbon trading.
The PAP as a legislative organ of the AU is currently not entrusted with legislative powers and in order to strengthen its mandate as envisaged in the 2014 Malabo Protocol to have legislative powers, the ratification of the protocol by the AU Member States to enter into force should be overemphasised.
I wish to reiterate our commitment to provide all the necessary support to facilitate the work of the Pan-African Parliament and our resolve to build the permanent Pan-African Parliament precinct in South Africa.
With those remarks, I declare the Pan-African Parliament Committees Sitting, officially open.
I thank you.
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