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Opening Remarks by the President to the SADC Parliamentary Forum Executive Committee

  • The Vice-President of the SADC Parliamentary Forum, Hon. Dr. Fiarovana Lovanirina Celéstin ;
  • Hon. Speakers and Hon. Members of the Executive Committee here present;
  • The Secretary General, Ms Boemo M. Sekgoma, and staff of the SADC PF.
  • The Chairperson of the Committee of Clerks Ms Barbra Dithapo.
  • Ladies and Gentlemen.
  • Comrades and Friends.

Let me begin by welcoming to you all to this important second meeting of our Executive Committee which precedes the 49th Plenary Assembly of the SADC Parliamentary Forum to be hosted by Parliament of Botswana. Let me also express my gratitude to you, Hon. Members of the Executive Committee, and the Secretariat, for supporting my Office while DRC holds the prestigious position of the Presidency of the Forum. The warm wave of support that I immediately felt upon joining the Forum, should continue to define the way we do business going forward. Together, driven by our common aspiration for a fully integrated SADC Region, we will overcome any obstacles that may stand in our path in our endeavour to steer the Forum to be, "The flag bearer of democratisation and socio-economic development in the SADC Region."

Hon. Speakers, Hon. Members, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Opening Remarks by the President to the SADC Parliamentary Forum Executive Committee

 

We meet today at a critical juncture in the life of the Forum, where the ambition of transformation into a SADC Regional Parliament is progressively gaining traction and slowly but surely becoming a believable reality. The fact that the item on transformation is still on the agenda of the SADC Council and Summit, notwithstanding the fact that there are delays due to COVID-19, is a huge win in itself. I wish to emphasize that it has never happened in the history of the Forum that the transformation agenda is consistently considered with such interest from SADC Member States and the SADC organs. It behoves me, therefore, to once again express my sincere appreciation to Hon. Speaker Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda and Hon. Speaker Professor Peter Katjavivi for making time to spearhead the bilateral meetings with Hon. Speakers of Parliaments in the SADC Region. We cannot and must not allow this inimitable level of commitment to the Transformation Agenda to lose its momentum. It is my hope, therefore, that Hon. Speakers and Hon. Members of EXCO will update us during this meeting of the progress they have made in arranging meetings between the Lobby Team of Hon. Speakers and their respective Heads of States ahead of the impending SADC Summit scheduled for August 2021. I also look forward to receiving briefings from Hon. EXCO Members on the lobbying initiatives they have personally taken since the last EXCO Meeting in March 2021, to popularise and garner support for the Transformation Agenda in their respective countries.

Hon. Speakers, Hon. Members, Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

In addition to the envisaged briefings on the Transformation Agenda as well as preparing for the 49th Plenary Assembly Session, this meeting is also expected to consider and make recommendations to the 49 th Plenary Assembly on:

i. The Organisational Design and Analysis and the Job Evaluation Reports prepared by the Parliament of South Africa;

ii. The Report on the review of the Remuneration Framework done by Mr. Rob Oakley; and,

iii. The Report on the Performance Management System produced by Mrs Mpho Lecoge.

We are hard-pressed to conclusively deal with the long-standing issue of the restructuring of our organisation and establishing a commensurate remuneration framework particularly as we need to heighten our institutional preparedness as we transform into a SADC Regional Parliament. As the organ tasked with "the overall management and conduct of the Forum business" in terms of Section 9(a) of the SADC PF Constitution, we have an onerous responsibility of ensuring that our organisational structure responds to the demands of the present and affirms our preparedness for a future in which we envisage transformation into a SADC Regional Parliament. In the same vein, it is high time that we definitively deal with the remuneration framework which has been outstanding for an inordinately long time. It is regrettable that our Secretariat's conditions of service have not been reviewed since 2012 and I must thank the Secretary General and our staff for continuing to work diligently over the past nine years regardless of this misnomer. However, we all appreciate that the review of the remuneration framework could not precede the Job Evaluation exercise as the two are intricately intertwined. I am, therefore, pleased to report that these processes have now been concluded and we are called upon to judiciously consider the reports on the Organisational Design and Analysis, the Job Evaluation exercise and the proposed review of the Remuneration Framework in this meeting with a view to establishing an organisation that is fit for purpose now and into the future.

 

Hon. Speakers, Hon. Members, Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

Let me also commend the Secretariat for going one step further to engage a consultant to develop a comprehensive performance management system for the Forum. This is in line with our quest towards inculcating a results-based, performance driven culture in the organisation. Metaphorically, where other institutions spend time measuring the number of bees that visit the flowers, our adoption of a performance management system is a statement of intent to measure the number of bees that collect the nectar and produce the honey. Our focus should be on value-based service delivery. We should indeed focus on results-centred business and insist on activity that should always be related to productivity. In the words of the American Philosopher, Henry David Thoreau, "It is not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?" It is my prayer that once the performance management system is endorsed by the Executive Committee, it will be fully implemented to its letter and spirit. Without doubt, the adoption of a performance management system within a revamped remuneration framework with harmonised grades will bolster good governance within the organisation and carry the Forum to greater heights of parliamentary excellence.

 

Hon. Speakers, Hon. Members, Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

We are fortunate in that a greater part of the fiduciary duty in relation to the Organisational Design and Analysis, the Job Review Exercise, the review of the Remuneration Framework and the development of the Performance Management System has already been done for us by the Committee of Clerk/Secretaries General. As you may recall, Article 16 A (4)(a) of the SADC PF Constitution mandates the Committee of Clerks/ Secretaries General to, " provide advice to the Executive Committee on matters submitted to it by the Secretariat pursuant to the instructions of the Executive Committee or the Plenary Assembly." To this end, the Joint Sub Committee on Finance, Human Resources and Capacity Development in its wisdom deemed it prudent to refer the afore stated documents to the Committee of Clerks/Secretaries General for consideration and input. This, in my considered view, was a sensible move given the technical nature of the issues contained in the reports which require the input of our technocrats in the form of the Committee of Clerks/Secretaries General. The Committee duly convened an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday 12th May 2021 to consider the reports and the Committee's recommendations on the same will be presented to us at this meeting for consideration. Allow me, therefore, to thank the Committee of Clerks/Secretaries General for making the time to judiciously perform this important task. The convergence of the minds of the Executive Committee and the Committee of Clerks/Secretaries General can only but strengthen our systems and processes and enhance the Forum's ability to deliver on its mandate.

Hon. Speakers, Hon. Members, Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

It would be remiss of me to conclude my remarks without expressing my appreciation to all Hon. Members of the Executive Committee for taking time off their busy schedules to attend this meeting. Let me also heartfully thank the Secretariat for facilitating the successful hosting of this meeting. I look forward to fruitful and mutually edifying deliberations. With these remarks, I have the honour to declare this meeting officially open.

 

I thank you.

Opening Remarks by the President to the SADC Parliamentary Forum Executive Committee

Last modified on Monday, 07 June 2021 09:52
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The Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) was established in 1997 in accordance with Article 9 (2) of the SADC Treaty as an autonomous institution of SADC It is a regional inter-parliamentary body composed of Thirteen (14) parliaments representing over 3500 parliamentarians in the SADC region. Read More

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