The Pan-African Parliament’s (PAP) leadership has directed Permanent Committees to give full expression to the aspirations of the African people as the Sitting of Permanent Committees and other Organs commenced today in Midrand.
The March Sittings of Permanent Committees of the sixth Parliament being held under the African Union Theme of the Year for 2023, “The Year of AfCFTA: Accelerating the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area” in Midrand, South Africa will run from 6 March to 17 March.
Gracing the opening ceremony were high-level guests, including South Africa’s Hon. Candice Mashego-Dlamini, Deputy Minister of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation representing the President of the Republic of South Africa, H.E Cyril Ramaphosa.
Also present was the Rt Hon. Lady Justice Tujilane R. Chizumila, Judge of the African Court on Human and People’s Rights and Professor Mirjam Van Reisen of the European Parliament.
Cognizant of the strides the PAP has made in the past eight months, President H.E Chief Fortune Charumbira said the Permanent Committees are the main drivers in giving vent to the expectations of the African citizenry.
“For our Committees to be able to contribute to the redress of the issues confronting Africa, we need to be clear on the full catalogue of issues that are adversely affecting our people. We must, therefore, utilize these sittings to conduct a microscopic environmental scan, draw up a detailed list of the challenges facing our citizens and develop work plans that prioritize and respond to the identified issues. Our focus must remain firmly fixed on the needs and expectations of the African citizenry and only then can we remain relevant as a continental oversight and representative institution,” said H.E Charumbira.
Central to discussions was also the pivotal role the Committees play in the implementation of the AU theme of the year for 2023. H.E Charumbira urged the Committees to review their work plans to ensure that they are in line with the theme to accelerate implementation of the AfCFTA. There were also concerted calls for collaboration with other AU organs, Regional and National parliaments as PAP drives the attainment of Agenda 2063 and other AU Flagship Projects, among them, the Integrated High Speed Train Network, Formulation of an African Commodities Strategy, Implementation of the Grand Inga Dam Project, Establishment of a Single African Air Transport Market and the Great African Museum.
Republic of South Africa Deputy Minister of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Hon Candice Mashego-Dlamini commended the PAP for coming up with programmes that speak to the needs of African people and reiterated South Africa’s commitment to supporting the PAP.
“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 PAP precinct in South Africa,” said Hon Mashego-Dlamini.
Underscoring the African Court on Human and People’s Rights’ willingness to collaborate with the PAP, Rt. Hon. Lady Justice Tujilane R. Chizumila said tremendous progress has been made in the democracy and human rights spheres yet a lot of work remains to be done.
“Our Court continues to work tirelessly to ensure human and people’s rights are protected. ACHPR has resolved to play its part while at the same time continuing collaboration between the ACHPR and PAP’” said Rt. Hon. Justice Chizumila.
Meanwhile, the continental Parliament saw the swearing-in of new Members of Parliament from Angola. These include Hon Manueal Domingos Augusto, Hon Maria Roea Antonia Gilberts Typinge (Mrs), Hon Adalberto Costa Junior, and Hon Abel Epalanga Chivukuvuku.