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Keynote Address 4th October 2021 Justice Zione Ntaba

Good morning, I bring you greetings from the Warm Heart of Africa, Malawi. A country blessed with beautiful people, rolling hills, thirst quenching rivers and an amazing lake, fondly called the Lake of Stars or the Calendar Lake. We look forward to your visit.

Let me first say, that is it is great to be among a set of people in the legal profession who I enjoy interacting with, being a former prosecutor myself. It is therefore an honour to address you at this SADC Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Model Law Consultative Meeting for Prosecutors from SADC Member States being held virtually. It is important to note that these consultative meetings are happening at a highly appropriate time right now on the African continent as every country is continuing to grapple with gender-based violence and its impact on the population as well as its economic prosperity and development for its people. Therefore, my keynote address is suitably placed in this discussion that Africa needs to have at this point but more so for the SADC countries which have their own unique issues in terms of gender-based violence.

Let me state from the onset that I find the objectives of the consultative meeting, exciting and extremely important as the issues you aim to achieve are very fundamental for gender and women’s right across Africa. It should be indicated at the beginning that there will be a lot of discussion on women and girls in this address. It is evident that even in the 21st Century, research has shown that most sectors continue to move at a glacial pace in terms of bringing women and girls into a position of achieving highest development but more so the enjoyment and promotion of their human rights.

Estimates published by WHO in March, 20211 indicate that globally about 1 in 3 (30%) of women worldwide have been subjected to either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime. Further that most of this violence is intimate partner violence. Worldwide, almost one third (27%) of women aged 15-49 years who have been in a relationship report that they have been subjected to some form of physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner. Incidentally that violence against women and girls particularly intimate partner violence and sexual violence is a major public health problem and a violation of women's human rights. Therefore, as prosecutors we should be very concerned and be working on ensuring that we reduce these numbers.

Distinguished prosecutors, I have gone through the draft SADC Model Law and wish to applaud the SADC Parliamentary Forum for having taken on this task which is critical and

pivotal in the justice sector. Most of us hail from countries that have Constitutions that emphasize human rights including mine where under section 19, it provides for the inviolability of human dignity. It prohibits torture, cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment. Gender based violence bears the marks of torture, and is also, under various circumstances, cruel, inhumane and degrading. The invasion of the body in sexual offences contrary to the victim’s wishes often leaves the victim traumatized, both physically and psychologically violated. It is a fact that consequences of gender-based violence means unproductive citizens and this equates to a lack of development for the citizen, nation and continent as a whole.

It is therefore imperative that as SADC we move and embrace new ways of handling gender- based violence. The words of Gubbay JA in Banana v State2 are very poignant and speak to the need to adjust especially in dealing with issues in the gender-based violence context. He stated that in present day society, there was no rational reason to apply the archaic cautionary rule in cases of a sexual nature. This followed changes in neighbouring jurisdictions like South Africa and Namibia. Gubbay JA quoted with approval the Namibian judgment, S v D & Anor3 in which the following was said: "in the end only one test applies, namely, was the accused's guilt proved beyond reasonable doubt, and the test must be the same whether the crime is theft or rape" Gubbay JA went on to quote, again with approval, the South African judgment in S v Jackson4, in which the following was said: "In my view, the cautionary rule in sexual assault cases is based on an irrational and outdated perception. It unjustly stereotypes complainants in sexual assault cases (overwhelmingly women) as particularly unreliable. In our system of law, the burden is on the State to prove the guilt of an accused beyond reasonable doubt - no more and no less.”

I am, therefore, particularly pleased that this meeting affords us an opportunity to share knowledge and experiences on this very important topic and in the process build a body of knowledge that can be used to perfect the draft model law. However, it will be remiss of me, if I do not pick out a few areas in the model law which in my opinion need further examination especially taking into consideration, the role of prosecutors in the criminal justice space.

Recently, the Covid pandemic has resulted in many of our countries registering alarming incidences of gender-based violence. The model law has included a very critical area which several the SADC jurisdictions has very little legislation on, that is, the concept of femicide. WHO states that globally as many as 38% of all murders of women are committed by intimate partners. The model law only highlights femicide under the definition part but fails to expand it in terms of the legislation or offer enough insight to the various countries on how to adopt and adapt the model law.

The model law fails to provide parameters for prosecution institutions in dealing with femicide including prioritization of prosecuting such cases, charging aspects to mention a few.

It should be noted that femicide especially in honor killings or domestic situations needs to have a different focus in terms of prosecution policies in our various countries and the model law needs to ensure such is properly highlighted.

Let me take this opportunity to also buttress a critical issue which needs to be fully embraced and noted in the model law. This is in terms of implementation of the law itself especially as it relates to prosecution which goes beyond the training envisaged in section 72 of the draft model law as it relates to the concept of re-victimization. The law needs to address re- victimization to be one beyond access to justice but to one envisaged as an extension of the medical ‘first do no harm’ principle. Further that such should be addressed across the gender- based violence continuum of a victim. Whilst in terms of prosecution, this should include the parameters (policies or otherwise) to be addressed and ensured – pre, during and post prosecution.

Carmichele v Minister of Safety and Security and another5 buttresses the importance of prosecution doing their duty. The High Court and the Constitutional Court held that the common law of delict required development to reflect the constitutional duty on the State especially, the police and the prosecution, to protect the public in general, and women, against the invasion of their fundamental and guaranteed rights by the culprits of violent crime. The Court held the Minister liable, in a case of rape, for negligence because the State did not take measures to protect the victim including the prosecutor who had failed to inform the presiding officer that the accused had previously physically assaulted the victim so that he was not afforded bail.

Similarly, Mexico's Supreme Court issued a historic order where the Court analyzed the conduct of each public servant involved in a murder case and revealed how the absence of a gender-sensitive approach had led to human rights violations of the victim, Mariana Lima, the deceased as well as her mother. The court also issued legal protection for Irinea Buendía, the deceased’s mother. Eventually, Julio César Hernández Ballinas, the husband was arrested since the order required México state authorities to reopen the case but also to conduct the investigation "from the perspective" of femicide, or the murder of a woman by a man for reasons related to her gender6.

It can be said that Courts have played and continue to play their part in protecting women’s rights. They have consistently highlighted that women and girls continue to face numerous inequalities but also vulnerabilities to their wellbeing and safety. On the African continent, this is worsened due to the patriarchal nature of our society. It is my belief that most courts are moving towards gender responsive judging as well as service delivery, therefore it is critical that prosecutors also inherently adopt policies, systems and processes that are gender responsive as they can affect the delivery of justice if they do not.

Lastly, it is recognized that our courts have made significant strides in the jurisprudence involving women and girls in terms of gender-based violence, however there is some gap when it comes to men and boys who are faced with gender-based violence. Therefore, the issues of gender responsiveness are critical. Consequently, the model law needs to also address aspects of this in terms of how the system is viewing incidences of violence perpetrated against men and boys. Internationally despite the context being highlighted is conflict times related, the significance cannot be underplayed. In the case of The Prosecutor v Bosco Ntaganda7 which concerned the Forces Patriotiques pour la libération du Congo (FPLC), an armed group comprised of people from the Hema ethnic group, which was a party to the 2002-2003 DRC conflict. It was recorded that at the pre-trial and trial stage, the Defence sought to have the charges of sexual violence against FPLC child soldiers excluded on the basis that the alleged conduct could not be a war crime because the putative victims and perpetrators belonged to the same military force. However, the Appeals Chamber rejected that argument, and confirmed that the rape and sexual enslavement of child soldiers by their commanders can indeed constitute war crimes under the Rome Statute. The Trial Chamber held that the OTP proved several of the allegations of rape and sexual slavery against child soldiers beyond reasonable doubt, and that Ntaganda bears individual criminal responsibility for those crimes. It also convicted Ntaganda for acts of rape and sexual slavery committed by FPLC troops against non-Hema civilians (both male and female). Furthermore, in addition to those sexual violence crimes, Ntaganda was convicted of conscripting and enlisting child soldiers, using them to participate actively in hostilities, attacking the civilian population, murder and attempted murder, persecution on ‘ethnic’ grounds, forcible transfer, and displacement, attacking protected objects, pillage, and destruction of property. Therefore, he was held responsible for these crimes as a direct perpetrator and indirect co-perpetrator under Article 25(3)(a) of the Rome Statute. Accordingly, there is need for prosecutors in the SADC region to note that there is mounting evidence that gender-based violence committed against men and boys needs to be receiving increased attention.

Access to justice remains a key pillar towards the eradication of violence against women and girls. It contributes to break the circle of violence, provide adequate reparation to victims, and transform the circumstances that make women and girls vulnerable to violence. Enhancing the efforts of prosecutors as part of key justice responders in protecting the rights of women and girls is essential and the model law must do so.

It is important to highlight that we must continue to be determined in terms of promotion and protection of the rule of law with a special emphasis on advancing human rights of everyone but more so women and girls who continue to be vulnerable, despite a lot of efforts. Justice dispensation is a collective determination and effort of every person in the sector. Justice must be transformative and must have a Human Rights face. It is therefore imperative that prosecutors across SADC should be strategic and harnesses all its resources.

We nonetheless commend our legislators for taking such a huge and bold step. It gives us Judiciaries as well as prosecutors, a good basis for expanding the laws on gender-based violence in our various jurisdictions. It offers prosecutors opportunities to go beyond the criminal justice space including advising victims on other possible actions available like taking the civil route in addition to the criminal justice route to redress human rights violations. The need to protect women and girls as well as men and boys from unwanted violence cannot be overemphasized when we talk of gender equality including women’s rights. We must be present.

In conclusion, let me leave you with the words of the Dalai Lama who said peace can only last where human rights are respected, where the people are fed, and where individuals and nations are free. We must remain ready; we must be vigilant but more so ready to reduce the inequalities but also to prosecute with vigour gender-based violence cases in our countries.

I wish you a wonderful consultative meeting and as well wish you well as you continue to help eradicate gender-based violence across the SADC region.

 

Keynote Address - Justice Zione Ntaba - The SADC Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Model Law Consultative Meeting for Prosecutors from SADC Member States

PRESENT

  • Jerónima Agostinho, Chairperson Mozambique
  • Darren Bergman, Vice Chairperson South Africa
  • Josefina P. Diakité Angola
  • Leepeetswe Lesedi Botswana
  • Mabulala Maseko Eswatini
  • Angele Solange Madagascar
  • Deus Gumba Malawi
  • Hon Hon Ashley Ittoo Mauritius
  • Chushi Caroline Kasanda Zambia
  • Dought Ndiweni Zimbabwe

ABSENT WITH APOLOGY

Hon. Balamage Nkolo Boniface                           DRC

Hon. Maimane. P. Maphathe                               Lesotho

MP                                                                       Seychelles

MP                                                                      Tanzania

MP                                                                      Namibia

OBSERVERS

  • Titus Gwemende, Oxfam International Southern Africa Regional Lead-Natural Resources
  • Ipyana Musopole, Anti-Corruption Enforcement Officer, Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Affairs, SADC Secretariat
  • Mr Tymon Katlholo, Director-General - Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), Botswana
  • Pusetso Morapedi, Executive Director Botswana Centre for Public Integrity (Southern Africa Anti-Corruption Network)
  • Mr Glenn Farred, Executive Director SADC Council of NGOs
  • Mark Heywood Editor of Maverick Citizen, a section of the Daily Maverick newspaper
  • Justice Oagile Key Dingake, former Judge of the High Court and Industrial Court in Botswana, Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone, and the Supreme and National Courts of Papua New Guinea
  • Mr Stanley Nyamanhindi, CEO SADC Lawyers Association
  • Dr Adane Ghebremeskel GIZ and Austrian Development Agency (ADA)

IN ATTENDANCE

Boemo Sekgoma, Acting Secretary General     SADC PF Secretariat

Sheuneni Kurasha, Committee Secretary      SADC PF Secretariat

Samueline Kauvee     SADC PF Secretariat

Paulina Kangiatjivi      SADC PF Secretariat

Agnes Lilungwe     SADC PF Secretariat

Ronald Windwaai      SADC PF Secretariat

Veronica Ribeiro, staff     Angola

Rangarirai Machemedze                                          Rapporteur

 

The meeting was called to order at 09:45 hours.

AGENDA

  • Credentials of Delegates and Apologies.
  • Adoption of Agenda.
  • Welcome Remarks by the Chairperson.
  • Consideration of Minutes from the previous Meeting held Virtually on 7th and 8th July 2020 and Matters Arising.
  • Presentation and deliberation on Corruption Trends and Framework for Curbing Corruption and Strengthening Accountability
  • Presentation and deliberation on Towards a Collaborative Approach in preventing, detecting, punishing, and eradicating corruption in the Public and Private Sectors in the SADC Region
  • Consideration and Adoption of a Regional Policy Brief on Curbing Corruption and Strengthening Accountability in SADC

CREDENTIALS OF DELEGATES AND APOLOGIES

Quorum for the meeting was confirmed for the meeting to proceed with 10 of the Members present. It was also reported that three parliament were yet to be constituted after of recent general elections, namely Namibia, Seychelles and Tanzania.

ADOPTION OF AGENDA

The agenda was adopted without any amendment on a motion by Zimbabwe, seconded by Zambia.

WELCOME REMARKS BY THE CHAIRPERSON

The Chairperson welcomed everybody to the Standing Committee session which, she said, was taking place ahead of the 48th Plenary Assembly Session. She observed that since this was the first meeting after Hon. Darren Bergman and herself were elected as the Vice Chairperson and Chairperson of the Standing Committee respectively, it was only proper for her to express their collective appreciation for the confidence and trust that Honourable Members had bestowed on them to lead the committee. She promised to drive the mandate of the Standing Committee forward over the next two years.

She noted the need to collectively interrogate the issue of corruption as this was one of the greatest threats to democracy undermining economic development, eroding the trust in state institutions as well as violating social justice.

She reminded the committee that the meeting must be viewed within the context of one of the functions of the Standing Committee pursuant to Rule 42(d)(iv) of the SADC PF Rules of Procedure, which is To promote the principles of human rights, transparent and accountable governance, peace and security through collective responsibility within the SADC Region.”

The function, she observed, dovetailed into Strategic Objectives 1 and 2 of SADC PF as stipulated in its Strategic Plan (2019 to 2023), namely:

  • “To promote cooperation, diplomacy and dialogue on issues of regional interest in view of advancing democratisation and socio-economic development for SADC Member States;” and
  • “To align, harmonise and create operational and institutional linkages between SADC PF Standing Committees and Programmes, and SADC Organs and Sectors, in view of promoting integration of the region.

On corruption, the Chairperson expressed dismay at evidence through research which shows a surge in corruption in both public and private sectors in the SADC region. For instance, she observed that the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) which scores and ranks countries globally on a rating scale of 0 to 100, with 0 being highly corrupt and 100 being highly clean, suggests that corruption is becoming an increasingly widespread phenomenon in the SADC region.

She noted that only four countries of the SADC region are in the top 20 in Africa. These are Seychelles (66), Botswana (61), Mauritius (52) and Namibia (52). The rest of the Member States scored below 50. This, she said was an indication of the magnitude of the work which was ahead of the Committee in terms of curbing corruption and strengthening accountability.

She reminded everyone that the theme for the meeting, “Enhancing the Role of Parliament in Curbing Corruption and Strengthening Accountability Through Building Institutional Collaboration with National and Regional Anti-Corruption State and Non-State Actors,”-was timely as it provided Parliamentarians and stakeholders the opportunity to engage and come up with collective solutions to the problem of corruption.

She implored members of parliament to be responsive to citizens demands for accountable governance since they were elected representatives of the people. This, she noted, was the expectation of the people and Members of Parliament should not betray this legitimate expectation and should ensure action was taken in curbing corruption and strengthening accountability by setting the relevant legal framework and exercising oversight on the Executive arms of Governments.

The Honourable Chair commended SADC for developing the SADC Protocol Against Corruption which was adopted in August 2001 in Malawi to assist Member States to prevent, detect, punish and eradicate corruption and to cooperate on related matters. She noted SADC Member States were committed to fighting corruption as was evidenced by their signatories to African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.

SADC Member State, she noted, had made steady progress in undertaking various anti-corruption initiatives in the form of laws, policies and institutions since the adoption of the SADC Protocol Against Corruption in 2001. In this regard, many of the Member States created state agencies whose mandate was to fight corruption, among other interventions. However, despite these efforts, the level corruption in the region remains high, she observed.

There was therefore a need for a collaborative approach by national and regional anti-corruption state and non-state actors, hence the meeting whose objectives were to:

  • Create a systematic and formalised regional platform for enhancing the role of Parliament in curbing corruption and strengthening accountability through building institutional collaboration with national and regional anti-corruption state and non-state actors;
  • Raise awareness on the SADC Protocol Against Corruption and promote its ratification, domestication and implementation by Member States;
  • Develop a Regional Policy Brief to inform national and regional policy makers and stakeholders in the SADC region on strategies for preventing, detecting, punishing and eradicating corruption in the public and private sector, including accelerated domestication and implementation of the SADC Protocol Against Corruption; and
  • Develop knowledge tools for use by Parliaments and national and regional anti-corruption state and non-state actors in combating corruption and strengthening accountability in the SADC region.

She concluded her remarks by thanking the various experts for their support and technical expertise. She also expressed the committee’s sincere appreciation to GIZ and Austrian Development Agency for the financial support towards the hosting of the meeting and wished everybody fruitful deliberations.

Point of Order-Congratulations to the New President of Seychelles

After the Chairperson’s welcome remarks, Hon. Kasanda from Zambia raised a point of order. The Honourable Member requested the meeting to officially congratulate H.E. Wavel Ramkalawan, a former Member of the DGHR Committee on winning the Presidential Elections in the just ended elections in Seychelles. She said she was happy that SADC PF and indeed the Committee, had produced a President. Hon. Kasanda opined that H.E. Ramkalawan was a humble and inclusive person whose intellect was admirable. Seychelles was blessed to have such a president as he was a great leader already.

After this intervention, the Honourable Vice Chairperson took over the chairing of the meeting after the Chair developed technical hitches with internet connection. The Vice Chair congratulated the previous Chair and the deputy since this was the first meeting after the elections.

The Vice Chair also congratulated the new President of Seychelles. Angola seconded the point raised by Zambia and also congratulated the new President of Seychelles and wished him well in his new role. Angola also congratulated the Chair and Vice Chairperson of the Committee for their election. The Honourable Members expressed their commitment to support them and noted the remarks of the Chair and requested if these could be circulated. He noted that corruption was a cancer that needed to be addressed to ensure the development of the SADC countries and improve the living standards of people.

The Vice Chair thanked everyone for their interventions and concurred with the point of order raised. He noted that Africa was looking for a good news story associated with peaceful democratic transition. He noted it would be great to put up a Facebook post congratulating also the opposition in Seychelles. He noted that the works of the model Law on Elections developed under the guidance of the committee was now bearing fruits and was happy that Seychelles was leading what should be an exemplary process.

The resolution was passed to congratulate the new president of Seychelles.

CONSIDERATION OF MINUTES FROM THE PREVIOUS MEETING    HELD VIRTUALLY ON 7TH AND 8TH JULY 2020 AND MATTERS      ARISING

The Chairperson of the meeting was reconnected and thanked Zambia for the point of Order and the support by the Vice Chairperson in chairing the meeting. The minutes were adopted with no amendments, on a motion by Angola, seconded by Zimbabwe.

MATTERS ARISING FROM THE MINUTES FROM THE PREVIOUS   MEETING HELD VIRTUALLY ON 7TH AND 8TH JULY 2020

In considering matters arising from the Minutes, the Committee noted there were no matters arising.

PRESENTATION AND DELIBERATION ON CORRUPTION TRENDS         AND FRAMEWORK FOR CURBING CORRUPTION AND         STRENGTHENING ACCOUNTABILITY

Mr. Titus Gwemende from Oxfam International presented on        Corruption in the region and the role of Parliament and noted that corruption assumed different dimensions including:

  • ‘Petty theft (acts of stealing, misuse of public funds, or extortion among street-level bureaucrats).
  • Grand theft (embezzlement or misappropriation of large sums of public monies by political elites who control state finances e.g Sani Abacha, the military dictator of Nigeria, siphoned an estimated US$4 billion from the central bank into his overseas accounts).
  • Speed money (petty bribes that businesses or citizens pay to bureaucrats to get around hurdles or speed things up e.g A typical supermarket must obtain a daunting list of 40 permits, forcing retailers to bribe many officers in order to get these permits faster, which cuts into their thin profit margins).
  • Access money (encompasses high-stakes rewards extended by business actors to powerful officials, not just for speed, but to access exclusive, valuable privileges including contracts)

He equated the different corruption dimensions to drugs noting that all corruption was bad – but petty theft and grand theft were like toxic drugs [or drinking bleach, a term suggested by Jordan Schneider]; speed money is like painkillers; access money is like anabolic steroids – they can even help one grow rapidly but come with serious side effects that accumulate over time. He observed that access money functions as an incentive system for politicians and capitalists to work together, especially when massive infrastructure, involving huge sunk costs, is required for an emerging economy to take off. Access money overpays capitalists to do this, through cheap loans, subsidies, state backing, and in return you get feverish growth that lifts people out of poverty like China.

The presentation highlighted corruption trends in the region and touched on the different areas where it was most discernible. In terms of inequality, the presentation noted rising inequality as a major factor leading to growing corruption risks, as they see it as contributing to unequal access to power and influence for private gain. In the long term, he noted, experts highlight that inequality may become deeply ingrained in government systems and further erode the rule of law. Rising wealth inequality is also seen by many experts as a root cause for low levels of trust in governments.

Another major driver and determinant of corruption was reported as technology, which will continue to transform the world including corruption and its many forms. By 2022, the presentation noted that 60% of the world’s GDP is forecast to be digitised. As a result, many in the anti-corruption community are excited by the new opportunities technology offers. But on a second look, they acknowledge that new technologies like Cryptocurrencies and Artificial Intelligence provide new routes to engage in corrupt behaviour. The vast amount of personal data stored online can be abused if exposed to the wrong people, and illicit financial flows are expected to grow, facilitated by ICT networks.

A growing trend in the region was also highlighted aptly called “State capture”, which involves “a situation where powerful individuals, institutions, companies or groups within or outside a country use corruption to influence a nation’s policies, legal environment and economy to benefit their own private interests” He noted that such capture of state institutions by private persons to influence state policies and decisions for their own private benefits has become a significant concern in Africa (Lodge 2018: 23). Its main consequence is that interests of a specific group are prioritised over public interests in the operation of the state.

In like manner, government reliance on extensive patronage networks was also seen as a common feature in some African countries. These patronage networks are part of informal power structures which determine who gets access to public resources. The patronage practices include the three Cs, namely co-optation, control and camouflage, he observed.

Another challenge noted as a challenge to political integrity was the generally opaque funding of political parties. The presentation quoted a report by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, which observed that there is insufficient regulation of political funding and election campaigns in many African countries, making it easier for corrupt activities associated with political financing to continue unchecked. As a result, uundisclosed political funding puts political parties and actors at risk of capture as secret funders will require a “payback” once their funded candidates get into power.

Finally, Mr. Gwemende told the meeting that land was heavily susceptible to corruption. According to a study by Transparency International, one in every two people encounters corruption during land administration processes in Africa, compared to one in five persons for the rest of the world. The presentation observed that private investors were engaging in corrupt deals to access land and to bypass consultations with the affected communities.

In light of the above trends, Mr. Gwemende implored parliamentarians to:

  • ensure that state institutions – including parliaments themselves – are so transparent and accountable as to be able to withstand corruption or permit its rapid exposure;
  • instil in parliaments' own ranks the notion that parliamentarians have a duty not only to obey the letter of the law, but to set an example of incorruptibility to society as a whole by implementing and enforcing their own codes of conduct;
  • create clear and fair legislation, including efficient public supervision, as regards the funding of political parties and election campaigns. The proper declaration of sources of income and of potential conflicts of interest is particularly important;

He concluded the presentation by emphasising the need to question the economic and production system that was being followed by Member States as this determined corruption. There was a need to harness people’s agency in the region and in Africa in order to fight corruption Addressing inequality and adopting national and regional instruments that fight corruption was one sure way of claiming victory against the menace.

In his presentation on Regional Framework on Curbing Corruption and Strengthening Accountability: Unpacking the SADC Protocol Against Corruption (2001), Mr Ipyana Musopole from the SADC Secretariat highlighted that the SADC Protocol against Corruption was adopted in 2001 and came into force in July 2005. The protocol, he noted, provides the framework to fight against corruption in the SADC region and currently there are 13 Member States that are party to the Protocol (with exception of Madagascar, Seychelles and Comoros).

He highlighted the objectives of the protocol as:

  • to promote and strengthen the development, by each of the State Parties, of mechanisms needed to prevent, detect, punish and eradicate corruption in the public and private sector,
  • to promote, facilitate and regulate cooperation among the State Parties to ensure the effectiveness of measures and actions to prevent, detect, punish and eradicate corruption in the public and private sectors.
  • to foster the development and harmonization of policies and domestic legislation of the State Parties relating to the prevention, detection, punishment and eradication of corruption in the public and private sectors.

The presentation gave a summary of the structure of the protocol and highlighted provisions of the following articles:

  • Article 3: Acts of corruption
  • Article 4: Preventative measures
  • Article 8: Confiscation and seizure
  • Article 9: Extradition and
  • Article 10: Judicial cooperation and legal assistance focus on Cooperation between state parties in the area of Extradition, judicial cooperation and provision of legal assistance.

On the role of parliament vis a viz the protocol, Mr. Musopole observed that Domestication-passing domestic legislation or implementing other actions that conforms to agreements which the country is state party to was one of the major functions of parliaments. He noted that the onus to take the first step to domesticate may be on the executive arm who sign these agreements, however, in some jurisdictions, parliament is involved in ratification which then paves the way for domestication process. The executive introduces legislation or propose amendments to existing legislation to conform to what they have signed up to. For Parliaments, he noted, the role in this case was to scrutinize and support the legislation or proposed amendments meant to facilitate domestication by ensuring they fully conform to what the agreements requires. (some provisions require incremental steps over a period of time so domestication may be spread over time and not achieved by one legislation).

It was observed that Parliaments have the oversight function over the executive which is mostly discharged through its portfolio/standing committees that play a wide range of functions which include reviewing the legislation that is introduced into parliament before it is adopted by the full parliament, exercising oversight functions over the executive. He emphasised that the oversight function can also serve as a mechanism to verify the executive compliance with regional and international agreements which it has signed up to or assessing progress on the domestication process.

In addition, the presentation also articulated the role of parliament in ensuring domestic debate over what should be given priority or requires urgency in terms of domestication because there is so much to be domesticated. Examples were given that countries are normally party to a plethora of agreements even on just corruption (African Union Protocol, UNCAC etc.) hence prioritisation was of essence especially by parliaments.

The presentation concluded by advising parliamentarians to take keen interest in capacity building activities that were meant to raise their consciousness on the issues and agreements and their implications in terms of what obligations their own Governments have to meet under the agreements to enable them to facilitate the domestication process. He noted that they also need to have access to information on what assessment review mechanisms reports have made on their countries about their progress, so that they can play a role in facilitating their Governments to accelerate the domestication process.

In discussion to the above presentations, the committee resolved as follows:

  • Appreciated the presentation by the two presenters from Oxfam and SADC Secretariat and noted the need for collaborative effort to fight corruption in the region by all stakeholders, both State and non-state actors;
  • Concerned about the high levels of corruption particularly in state institutions including the law enforcement agencies and concurred that corruption was a living menace which was impeding development in the region;
  • Reiterated the need to campaign against sanctions imposed on some countries in the region as these were providing the grounds for corruption to thrive;
  • Resolved to continue the fight against inequality and the need to level the playing field across different sectors of the economy to ensure equal opportunities for all, which paves the way to fight corruption;
  • Underlined the importance of regional integration and cooperation in the fight against corruption particularly in implementing the provisions of the protocol as well as the national laws on corruption.

Presentation and deliberation on Towards a Collaborative      Approach in preventing, detecting, punishing, and eradicating   corruption in the Public and Private Sectors in the SADC Region

The Committee welcomed Commissioner John Makamure, spokesperson of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, who, in his presentation on the theme of the meeting observed that the major obstacle to poverty alleviation in many countries in Africa was poor governance, which includes not simply corruption, but also poor performance of government officials in their management of public resources. The poor management of public resources, he observed, translates directly into poor public service delivery implementation, and thus undermining poverty alleviation policies.

The meeting was informed of the need for good governance, which he said has the following major characteristics. It is participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive and follows the rule of law. He went further to explain that good governance assures that corruption is minimized, the views of minorities are taken into account and that the voices of the most vulnerable in society are heard in decision-making. It is also responsive to the present and future needs of society.

In light of the above, Commissioner Makamure noted that countries in the region have adopted a policy of zero tolerance to corruption. This means fighting both grant and petty corruption. While this is the way to go, he observed that grant corruption must be fiercely fought. This was because it involves abuse of high level power that benefits the few at the expense of the many, and causes serious and widespread harm to individuals and society.

Whilst the presentation highlighted the devastating effects of corruption on the economic, social and political fabric of a society, Commissioner Makamure noted the existence of many stakeholders that hold the key to fighting it namely:

  • Anti-corruption agency
  • Independent commissions
  • Police
  • Judiciary
  • Prosecuting Authority
  • Revenue authorities
  • Central Bank
  • Parliament
  • Auditor General

The meeting was informed that Anti-corruption agencies could only effectively execute their constitutional mandate with increased collaboration with all key stakeholders including business, labour, churches, civil society and NGOs in various shapes and sizes, educational institutions etc. This was further strengthened by the recognition of various stakeholders in the key instruments that prove the framework to fight corruption i.e. the UN Convention Against Corruption, the AU Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption and the SADC Protocol Against Corruption. All of these underscores the critical role of a collaborative approach in the fight against corruption. He observed that greater external collaboration was key especially in the recovery of assets.

In pursuit of his argument, Commissioner Makamure explained the collaboration the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission was having with various partners and signed MoUs with the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Auditor General, Parliament of Zimbabwe, Financial Intelligence Unit, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, National Prosecuting Authority, Immigration Department and Transparency International Zimbabwe, Immigration Department, among others. Hence cooperation among stakeholders was noted to be very critical in the fight against corruption and these engagements have gone a long way in assisting the Commission fulfil its mandate.

He also informed the meeting of the Collaboration and coordination that has been strengthened through the development of a National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) which was officially launched by His Excellency President E. D. Mnangagwa on 11 July 2020. In this regard he noted that most SADC countries have a NACS and went on to highlight some of the objectives of NACS and the intervention strategies contained in the Zimbabwe NACS to fight corruption.

He concluded his presentation by noting that NACS must meet the specific needs of a country and take into account local realities. As there is no one-size-fit-all remedy for corruption, NACS need to be based on rigorous data, a sound understanding of the country-specific social, legal and institutional environment as well as a realistic assessment of the corruption-related problems, he noted. Furthermore, he observed that a good strategy must address underlying causes and not just the symptoms of the problem.

The Committee received a presentation from Mr. Glenn Farred from the SADC Council of NGOs, who in his contribution to the theme noted that the SADC region had made strides in promulgating the SADC Protocol Against Corruption. In this regard he noted that many SADC Member States had made stride to fight corruption given the leal framework in place. However, he noted that the ability to sustain the fight was hampered by the historical legacies that the countries in the region continue to suffer from even in this day and age.

He opined that the particular history of colonialism in different countries & the nature of the bureaucracy inherited in the post-independent states made it difficult for reforms to be instituted smoothly. Therefore, this legacy resulted in the ugly situation of entrenchment of corruption through:

  • The politicisation of anti-graft and anti-corruption actions to settle scores, gain advantage or discredit opponents which impacts public confidence in measures and institutions (Botswana; Tanzania; RSA; Angola) – selective and politically motivated actions do little to remove the systemic problems
  • Shutting down media and civil society organisations, imprisonment, harassment and legal and extra-judicial means to muzzle anti-corruption information/organisations. Use of international conventions and instruments such as Anti-Money Laundering and Financing Terrorism measures to target media and civil society activists – transforming whistle-blowing into a “terrorist” act
  • The horrendous incidents of corruption which we are witnessing now as COVID-19 resources are widely looted (reports suggest all MS’s have been found to have incidents of Covid related corruption)

He concluded his presentation by suggesting someway forward including that SADC-CNGO strongly supports Civil Society Accountability  -  a comprehensive framework for independent civil society with appropriate legislation; self-regulation; transparency and enforcement mechanism’s (Code of Conduct & Ethics; Annual Audits; Legal protections).

In this framework, he articulated The SADC WE WANT Campaign, which has called for:

  • A Regional Court of Justice & Human Rights;
  • A Regional Parliament;
  • A Regional Authority (revision of the SADC Treaty to reconstitute the current Secretariat to become an effective policy making and coordinating body);
  • Free Movement of People in SADC & AU

He observed that SADC-CNGO proposes a Liaison Unit and Engagement Framework be established by Regional CSOs & SADC-PF to facilitate contributions to the work of the SADC-PF enabling structured linkages between the parliamentarians and civil society formations (technical support, outreach and public education, research and knowledge production, participation and advocacy).

 

Ms Pusetso Morapedi from Botswana Centre for Public Integrity and also representing the Southern Africa Anti-corruption network (SAACoN) as well as the Southern African Civic Education Coalition (SACEC) underscored the need for civic education in fighting corruption. She observed that the existence of protocols and other instruments was not a guarantee that corruption would be eradicated unless and until civic education was inculcated in the citizenry through various approaches including incorporating provisions of some instruments in school curricula.

She informed the meeting that her organisation was working closely with SADC NGO through the establishment of a regional anticorruption taskforce whose mandate, among others was to bring together various stakeholders in the fight against corruption.

Mark Heywood, the Editor of the Maverick in his contributions from the Media perspective noted that corruption is a global problem, taking many forms and that it was not a victimless crime as it leads to human rights violations, deepening inequality and weakens the capacity of the State e gave examples of the cost of corruption in South Africa where he noted that is estimated to cost hundreds of billions of Rand per annum. He lamented that the objective of “State capture” was to facilitate corruption. During Covid-19 journalists have played a crucial role in exposing corruption in PPE procurement, for example.

Mark also reiterated that Corruption was a threat to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

He posed a fundamental question: who benefits from corruption? He noted that Corruption was not only a problem afflicting governments and the public service, but it was also deeply embedded in the conduct of private business and gave an example that:

2018, UN Secretary General: “Citing estimates by the World Economic Forum, he said the global cost of corruption is at least $2.6 trillion, or 5 per cent of the global gross domestic product (GDP), adding that, according to the World Bank, businesses and individuals pay more than $1 trillion in bribes every year.”

He informed the meeting that tackling corruption required visible political leadership and, in this regard, Parliament has a key role to play in terms of ensuring:

  • Leadership
  • Legislation
  • Monitoring
  • Accountability

He reiterated that the battle against corruption cannot be won by Parliament alone. We need a social compact against corruption. Journalists and the media are a key stakeholder in that compact. Hence civil society had a critical role to play in ensuring Monitoring and reporting; Eyes and ears in communities; Protectors of resources; Able to organise and educate around corruption; Able to change the culture that turns a blind eye to corruption; Working in partnership with government.

He noted particularly the importance of the media in the fight against corruption through:

  • investigating and publicising corruption;
  • Educating and empowering communities about the legal framework around corruption.
  • Ensuring accountability.
  • Monitoring and supporting the prosecuting authorities.
  • A memory that doesn’t forget.
  • Revealing the consequences of corruption

He concluded his presentation by posing a question:

How can Parliament support the media and by doing so support the fight against corruption?

Justice Oagile Key Dingake, former Judge of the High Court and Industrial Court in Botswana, Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone, and the Supreme and National Courts of Papua New Guinea made a presentation on the role of the Judiciary in fighting corruption in the SADC region.

Justice Dinkake lamented that corruption was robbing the SADC region and the entire African continent of its future. He noted that the social costs of corruption were incalculable and incontestable. Speaking from the perspective of the judiciary Justice Dingake observed that the judiciary was the last line of defence against any encroachment on rights and freedoms under law. In this regard, he noted the importance of the independence and impartiality of the judiciary saying it was more likely to be effective in fighting corruption than the one that is not.

He reiterated that fighting corruption was fundamentally a political project as the politicians in the executive and legislature must take the lead and the people should trust that they mean what they say when they promise zero tolerance on corruption.

The presentation highlighted the need to seriously pose the question: Are our respective national political leaders leading the war against corruption credible? Do they have the moral standing to win the confidence of our people? Are they perceived to be corrupt?

He noted if they are, winning the war would be a Herculean task. However, the meeting was informed that the unspoken tragedy in Africa that keeps corruption alive was that the proceeds of crime and illicit money were the raw material for election campaigns and election buying, with the result that criminal cartels are now buying governments-in-waiting in advance. This phenomenon, he noted, turns the ruling elites into enemies of their own people, because they are bought in advance to pursue the interests of their sponsors when in power.

The presentation observed the importance of advocating for regulation of finance campaigning which the independent anti-corruption bodies and civil society must focus on. He implored the SADC PF to initiate a conversation about this issue to resuscitate democracy in the region.

There was emphasis that the proceeds of crime and the illicit money funding political parties will destroy any semblance of democracy existing in the region. He noted that they subvert the will of the people and make the expression of that will inarticulate.

Emphasis was made that the judiciary on its own, no matter how independent it may be, will not succeed in breaking the back of corruption until the political question was addressed, that is, – the democratic deficit that makes corruption thrive.

The role of the judiciary was discussed in detail and Justice Dingake pointed out that a judiciary that is independent and impartial is the bedrock of a democracy and the rule of law. He noted, these values were essential in earning and retaining the confidence of the people.

Thus, he observed, the building blocks of a judiciary that can effectively fight corruption start with the procedure in the appointment of judges. This was important because the selection of judges may have an adverse bearing on a judiciary that can credibly and effectively fight corruption.

He lamented the growing phenomenon of cadre deployment – a situation in which the appointment of judges is made purely on political considerations and not merit, which undermines the fight against corruption and the rule of law. Appointments of judges based on political considerations are in themselves a form of judicial capture and should be strongly discouraged.

In term of the enabling legal framework, Justice Dingake pointed out that most countries do not have such. Enabling laws that may contribute to an effective anti-corruption legal framework may comprise those that:

  • Criminalise corrupt activities;
  • Enhance transparency in public procurement;
  • Require public officials to regularly declare assets and liabilities;
  • Identify and prevent conflict of interests;
  • Protect whistle-blowers;
  • Enable tracing, seizure, freezing and forfeiture of all illicit earnings from corruption;
  • Improve access to information (allowing citizens to obtain information from the state);
  • Define basic principles for decision-making in public administration (objectivity, impartiality, fairness, proportionality, legality, and the right to appeal); and
  • Have a legal framework that enables public interest litigation.

He concluded his presentation by noting the importance of MPs to pay attention to passing laws that can aid in fighting corruption. We need laws that protect whistle-blowers, laws on freedom of information, laws on declaration of assets and liabilities, laws on conflict of interests, and laws on public interest litigation – where people other than those directly involved (concerned members of the public) can file a suit on behalf of the public.

Stanley Nyamanhindi from the SADC Lawyers Association informed the meeting that tackling corruption was one of the major activities they were engaged in through:

  • Direct formal engagement with SADC, and state party leadership to influence restoration of the SADC Tribunal or adoption of an alternative regional human rights apex tribunal with jurisdiction for individual cases that would also include corruption issues;
  • The agreement with state party leadership to enter into Memoranda of understanding in regard to creation of economic justice infrastructure in the mould of a SADC Seat for Commercial arbitration and Investment Dispute Resolution. The agreement also includes partnership in implementing the pro bono network by enabling government legal aid and court structures to access the SADC Regional Pro Bono network for additional lawyers to assist in matters where government is overwhelmed, including on corruption cases.
  • Practical Strategies to strengthen human rights and rule of law observance at domestic, regional and international level - The convention of parallel platforms and processes for both state and non-state actors to firmly build the foundational pillars of the human rights and rule of law infrastructure in SADC. Namely Public Interest Law Network. This is constituted of a pro bono network that includes public interest litigation, free legal representation and assistance with transactional legal work aimed at enhancing observation of human rights for vulnerable groups. A key approach is the engagement of big business and investment transactions with the view to ensuring they remain alive to the rights of grass roots communities and thus help in curbing corruption.

The Committee deliberated on the six presentations and resolved as follows:

Commended the presenters for bringing out different dimensions of corruption and the suggested way forward to addressing it;

  • Welcomed the recommendations for Parliaments to be conscientized and capacitated on national and regional agreements, protocols and instruments that promote democratic governance and their implications in terms of what obligations their Governments have to meet under those instruments;
  • Reiterated the importance of Civic education in strengthening evidence-based approach to combating corruption and the role of Parliamentarians in ensuring adherence to shared norms and principles through civic education of communities;
  • Concerned about the slow pace on the ratification and/ or domestication and/ or implementation of national, regional and other international agreements/instruments which Member States are parties to including the SADC protocol Against Corruption and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, African Court on Human and Peoples Rights, Protocol on Mutual legal assistance etc;
  • Appreciated the role of parliaments to ensure the establishment of independent institutions that support democratic governance and their funding including the independence of the judiciary
  • Welcomed the recommendation on the establishment of a Liaison Unit and Engagement Framework for Regional CSOs & parliaments to facilitate contributions to the work of the SADC-PF, enabling structured linkages between the parliamentarians and civil society formations (technical support, outreach and public education, research and knowledge production, participation and advocacy);
  • Reiterated the importance of a Ministerial Committee (or some other forum) at SADC level to oversee the implementation of the Protocol Against Corruption with regards to the harmonization of legislation and mechanisms for facilitating cross-border cooperation in investigating and prosecuting cases of corruption;
  • Concerned with the attack perpetrated on the Media throughout the SADC especially for its role in investigating and exposing corruption including during the Covid-19 pandemic;
  • Reiterated that parliaments tackles corruption through its oversight role in fulfilling civil and political rights by protecting (as provided for in the different charters and instruments):
    • Freedom of expression;
    • Access to information;
    • Freedom of assembly;
    • Freedom of association;
    • Accountability and efficient institutions of state

Closing Remarks

In her closing remarks, the Chairperson thanked the Members for their participation and robust contributions during deliberations.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 16h20 sine die.

 

Minutes of the SADC PF Standing Committee on Democratisation, Governance and Human Rights Virtual Meeting held on 26th October 2020 

Honourable Members, Ms Boemo Sekgoma-SADC PF Secretary General, and the Secretariat, it’s a great honour for me to make a closing statement for our meeting.

Honourable Members, I am delighted to note that as a Committee we have been able to meet virtually and   hold our meeting as planned, and let me take this opportunity to thank the secretariat for their effort to facilitate the holding of this meeting  

Honourable Members, during this meeting, though short, the Committee has discussed a number of crucial issues in relation to the implementation of the SRHR HIV/AIDS and Governance Project, and a report will be prepared for presentation to the Plenary Assembly.

Honourable Members, let me also express my sincere gratitude to our secretariat for updating the committee on the project implementation. The Presentations were quite informative, and consequently as a Committee we have learnt quite a lot and we now have a clear picture on how the project is being implemented.  

Honourable Members, without wasting much of your time, let me declare the meeting closed and wish you safe stay.

Thank you all, Honourable Members

Closing Remarks by the Chairperson of the HSDSP Committee Honourable Bertha Ndebele MP, 16 April 2021

 

PRESENT

  • Bertha M. Ndebele Malawi (Chairperson)
  • Luisa Damiao Angola
  • Ts’epang Ts’ita Mosena Lesotho
  • Jerónima Agostinho        Mozambique
  • Nkhensani Kate Bilankulu South Africa
  • Lucien Rakotomalala Madagascar
  • Maria Langa-Phiri Zambia
  • Joyce Makonya Zimbabwe

ABSENT  WITH APOLOGY

  • Hon Ashley Ittoo Mauritius
  • Hon Sebastian Karupu Namibia
  • Hon Jamal K Ali Tanzania
  • Hon Terence Mondoni Seychelles

SECRETARY

  • Mr Dennis Gondwe, Secretary SADC PF Secretariat

IN ATTENDANCE

  • Boemo M. Sekgoma Secretary General
  • Ms Jabulile Malaza Eswatini
  • Ms Agnes Lilungwe SADC PF Secretariat
  • Trudi Hartzenberg Executive Director, Trade Law

Centre (Resource Person)

The meeting was called to order at 09:15 hours.

AGENDA

  • Credentials of Delegates and Apologies.
  • Welcome Remarks by the Chairperson.
  • Adoption of Agenda.
  • Consideration of Minutes from the previous Meeting held at Southern Sun Hotel O.R. Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, South Africa on 10th March 2020, ahead of the 47th Plenary Assembly Session.
  • Noting of the COVID-19 Guidelines Released to National Parliaments and Consideration of the Adaptive Strategy for the Forum concerning the linkage between SRHR and COVID-19
  • Commemoration of the International Safe Abortion Day 2020
  • Presentation on the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 on the SADC Region
  • Closing Remarks by the Chairperson

CREDENTIALS OF DELEGATES AND APOLOGIES

Apologies were recorded from the national Parliaments of Botswana, Namibia, Mauritius, Seychelles and Tanzania. 8 out of the 15 Member Parliaments were present. Accordingly, the meeting was deemed to be properly constituted.

ADOPTION OF AGENDA

The draft Agenda was adopted without amendments on a motion by Mozambique and seconded by Zimbabwe.

 WELCOME REMARKS BY THE CHAIRPERSON

In her welcome remarks, the Chairperson, Hon Bertha Ndebele, recalled the meeting of the 10th March 2020 held in Johannesburg, South Africa, where the HSDSP Committee had deliberated on a number of issues, including the implementation status of the second phase of the SRHR, HIV and AIDS Governance Project which fell under the Committee’s oversight ambit, the proposal for the development of the Model Law on Public Financial Management and the recruitment of the Programme Manager for the HSDSP and GEWAYD Standing Committees. In the same meeting, the Committee had also requested to be briefed on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the SADC Region hence the inclusion of the said briefing on the agenda of this meeting. Hon. Ndebele commended the Secretariat for securing a resource person to sensitize the Committee on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic which was adversely affecting not only the Region but the entire globe. To that end, the meeting was being held under the current and relevant theme, “The need to adapt to COVID-19 and streamline response measures taken in the view of uplifting the SRHR Agenda of SADC Member Parliaments.

Hon. Ndebele noted that in line with its Vision of standing as “the flag-bearer of democratization and socio-economic development in the SADC Region” the SADC PF had proactively developed and released COVID-19 Guidelines for National Parliaments to assist them to respond to the pandemic in a harmonized, rights-based manner. The HSDSP Committee, as the Committee directly responsible for championing human and social development issues at the Forum was thus duty bound to consider the Guidelines as well as the adaptive strategies and, where necessary, provide direction in the implementation of the same given the differential impact of COVID-19 on SRHR in the different Member States. It was thus imperative that the Members of the HSDSP Committee be capacitated on the impact of the pandemic and possible response strategies as this would enable them to spearhead debate at the Forum and in their national Parliaments.

CONSIDERATION OF MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING HELD AT SOUTHERN SUN HOTEL O.R. TAMBO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA ON 10th MARCH 2020, AHEAD OF THE 47TH PLENARY ASSEMBLY SESSION.

The Committee considered the minutes of the previous meeting, and the following corrections were made:

  • That on page 1, the name of Hon. Maqelepo be removed on the list of those absent with apologies;
  • That on page 5, Item 5.1 first sentence the word ‘including’ be replaced with ‘namely’
  • That on Page 5 on the table reflecting SRHR Researchers the spelling of the name of the SRHR Researcher appointed by the Parliament of Lesotho be corrected to “Ntsoaki Chabeli”
  • That on page 6 Item 5.2 be rephrased to ‘each staff member’
  • That on page 10 Item 7.0 be rephrased to “…the Secretary General provided the link to the WHO website for more information”

On the motion by Mozambique and seconded by Zimbabwe the minutes of the previous meeting held on 10th March 2020 were adopted as a correct record of proceedings subject to the afore stated amendments.

MATTERS ARISING FROM THE MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING, HELD AT SOUTHERN SUN HOTEL O.R. TAMBO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA ON 10TH MARCH 2020, AHEAD OF THE 47TH PLENARY ASSEMBLY SESSION.

There were no Matters Arising from the Minutes of the previous meeting.

 

NOTING OF THE COVID-19 GUIDELINES RELEASED TO NATIONAL PARLIAMENTS AND CONSIDERATION OF THE ADAPTIVE STRATEGY FOR THE FORUM CONCERNING THE LINKAGE BETWEEN SRHR AND COVID-19.

The Secretary General briefed the meeting that in line with the Forum’s Vision of being ‘the flag-bearer of democratisation and socio-economic development in the SADC Region,’ it was imperative for Member Parliaments and Members of the SADC PF to keep abreast with contemporary developmental issues, including strategies to counter and adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic which had been declared a disease of International Public Health Concern (IPHC) by the World Health Organisation (WHO). To that end, the SADC PF had come up with the Guidelines for National Parliaments to Address the COVID-19 Outbreak (Attached as Annexure 1) as a framework to buttress short and long-term interventions by national Parliaments and Governments in the region. The Guidelines were informed by public health principles contained in Model Laws that had been developed by the Forum, including the quest for Universal Health Coverage (UHC) which had been the theme of the 46th Plenary Assembly held in Swakopmund, Namibia in December 2019, as well as international public health principles outlined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) among others.

The Guidelines were also predicated on Parliament’s role in mitigating the pandemic including, but not limited to, policy-making and enactment of legislation as well as budgetary oversight. To that end, the Guidelines provided pointers to Members on what they should look out for in fulfilling their legislative, policy and budgetary oversight and representative role in the fight against COVID-19 within the remit of UHC. This included embedding principles of equality, access to health care services, observance of human rights, protection and promotion of frontline staff and access to SRHR services which had become more prominent during the pandemic. For instance, cases of teenage pregnancies, gender-based violence, intimate partner rape and rape in general had increased while access to health care services such as cervical cancer screening and access to anti-retroviral treatment had also been seriously compromised. It was thus critical for Parliament to enquire into and deliberate on these issues as well as ensuring that budgetary allocations cover this broad spectrum of SRHR issues which had been heightened by the pandemic. The Guidelines thus provided a user-friendly one-stop guideline in looking at this whole gamut of SRHR related issues.

The Guidelines also outlined the possible adaptive strategies by national Parliaments and how Parliaments could streamline SRHR issues within these response initiatives. For instance, it was highly probable that national Parliaments would prioritise the enactment of COVID-19 related emergency legislation during the prevalence of the pandemic at the expense of any other legislation. It would be important, therefore, for Members to ensure that SRHR issues do not take a back seat during the pandemic given the upturn in SRHR indicators during the pandemic. Thus it would be prudent for national Parliaments to prioritise both SRHR and COVID-19 related legislation despite giving greater priority to the latter.

The Secretary General stated that over and above budgetary oversight, the Guidelines also provided for increased oversight on institutions and agencies of the State during the pandemic. It was just as important for national Parliaments to ensure prudential allocation and use of resources during this crisis period as it was for them to prevent arbitrary wastage of public funds. It would also be important for Parliaments to demonstrate inclusivity and an increased willingness to champion SRHR issues of communities and vulnerable groups during the pandemic. To this end, Members of the HSDSP Committee were expected to engage citizens at the community level to hear their concerns and report to the Committee on the same. Members were also implored to influence their Committees at the national level to adopt and implement the Guidelines and again report on what they had done in this regard at the next meeting.

In the ensuing deliberations, the Chairperson underscored the importance of the Guidelines particularly, their insistence on Members keeping tabs on SRHR issues during the pandemic. Hon. Ndebele confirmed that, indeed, teenage pregnancies had gone up exponentially in Malawi with the Ministry of Health confirming that the rate of teenage pregnancies had risen from 29% to 35% since March 2020. To that end, it was imperative for Members of the HSDSP Committee to internalise the Guidelines and the adaptive strategies and champion them in their respective national Parliaments.

COMMEMORATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL SAFE ABORTION DAY 2020

As part of belated commemorations of the International Safe Abortion Day held on 28th September 2020 under the theme, Telemedicine, self-managed abortion and access to safe abortion in the context of COVID-19 pandemic,” the Committee was treated to an illustrative video which highlighted the prevalence of unsafe abortions and their negative impact on women and girls in the region. The video revealed that, though most countries in the Region were averse to legalising safe abortion, one (1) in every four (4) pregnancies in Southern Africa ended in abortion while sixteen thousand (16 000) women die each year from abortion related complications. 74% of unsafe abortions ended in death and the reasons for unsafe abortion varied from rape to unmet needs for contraceptives as well as poverty.

However, these fatalities could be avoided if women and adolescent girls are given unrestricted access to safe abortion services and contraceptives. Instead, girls and women have had to suffer the ignominy of stigma and ostracism that often comes with unsafe abortion let alone the trauma and lifelong internal injuries associated with the same. Unsafe abortions were also impacting negatively on the development of women and adolescent girls in the Region as the victims are often forced to drop out of school due to stigmatisation and thus miss out on economic opportunities. In this regard, unsafe abortions have adverse economic consequences for governments and the public health system as the cost of having safe abortions was estimated to be less than a tenth of the cost of caring for women after abortion. Additionally, loss of income and the cost of recovery from unsafe abortions exerted a major financial burden on families, communities and the public health system.

Restrictive policies and legislation were the major stumbling block to safe abortion and unrestricted access to contraceptives. Even in cases where safe abortion is permissible, other barriers such as the distance to the health care service centre, lack of information on safe abortion, social norms and cultural practices that perceive abortion as taboo and sinful and stigma drove women and adolescent girls underground into unsafe abortion practices. Governments and Parliaments in the SADC Region thus had it within their power to stem the growing tide of unsafe abortions and save lives by:

  • Enacting progressive SRHR policies and legislation that promote safe abortion and access to contraceptives.
  • Speaking out against stigma, social norms and cultural practices that force women and adolescent girls to opt for clandestine unsafe abortions.
  • Educating health service providers on ethical conduct that is non-judgemental and supportive of safe abortion.
  • Enhancing access to sexual and reproductive health information.
  • Lobbying for the implementation of Comprehensive Sexuality Education to prevent early and unwanted pregnancies

Making abortion legal and accessible would thus improve the lives of communities by reducing maternal mortality and morbidity, keeping the girl child in school and increasing sexual and reproductive health outcomes. Consequently, putting policies in place that expand access to safe abortion would lower health care costs and achieve Sustainable Development Goals.

The Committee noted and acknowledged the need to promote safe abortion in the SADC Region by enacting enabling legislation and policies. The Committee recognised that in the absence of enabling legislation unsafe abortion would continue unabated and the Region would continue to lose the potential human capital resident in women and adolescent girls.

PRESENTATION ON THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON

THE SADC REGION: TRUDY HARTZENBERG, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, TRADE LAW CENTRE

 Ms Hartzenberg prefaced her presentation by acknowledging that the COVID-19 pandemic had affected everyone, some more closely than others, and had changed the way we live, the way we relate and the way we do business. She asserted that the COVID-19 pandemic was a health crisis in the first instance which had morphed into a global economic crisis and a developmental crisis for Africa. This had been exacerbated by Africa’s vulnerability to crises due to the continent’s fragile health systems, the largely informal economies and a heavy reliance on tourism and trade which were adversely impacted by the closure of borders. COVID-19 had thus exposed existing vulnerabilities, inequalities and exclusions and unearthed new ones. The pandemic had brought to the fore the need for Africa and the region to review its national, regional and continental development priorities as well as the importance of regional integration, regional co-operation and collaborative regional responses in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and any other crises that may arise in future. It was thus important to review some of the response initiatives that countries in the region had taken with a view to galvanising reconstruction, recovery and building resilience.

The presenter noted that from the time the first case was discovered in Egypt on 14th February 2020, African countries had stepped up their capacity to test and trace cases of infection. In that respect, African countries had proven that in a short space of time they could develop their capacities and strengthen their health care systems- a positive development which Africa and the region should build on for future resilience.

In terms of national emergency response measures, the presenter noted that most countries either declared the pandemic a state of emergency or a national disaster, both of which are governed by national constitutions and are subject to Parliamentary oversight. These declarations were both legitimate and appropriate and allowed States to muster the resources necessary to fight the pandemic timeously. However, it must be noted that some of the emergency measures, including national lockdowns, had had a severe and lasting impact on the economies of SADC countries in terms of income generation and employment. An increasing number of people had lost their livelihoods, among them cross border traders who were mostly women, tour operators, small and medium enterprises. It was thus urgent and imperative for policy-makers to start factoring this into the planning process for post-COVID recovery and job creation.

Ms Hartzenberg also reminded the Committee that the rule of law is no suspended during states of emergency/national disasters. It was, therefore, the role of Parliament to ensure that the rule of law is observed and further that the measures adopted are legitimate and appropriate within the ambit of the state of emergency. The presenter highlighted that national emergency measures do not only impact on the national territory but can go further to adversely affect neighbouring countries. For instance, the closure of a border has an immediate impact on neighbouring countries particularly in view of the configuration of the SADC Region which has a number of landlocked countries. This impacts on trade routes and renders access to food supplies difficult thus making food security a major concern. Access to medicinal requirements and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was also disturbed by the closure of borders. Additionally, international agreements, among them, Article 9 of the SADC Protocol on Trade, allow for exceptions during states of emergency and enable countries to place restrictions on exports while allowing imports by, for example, lowering import duty on certain goods. However, when governments entertain these measures they recognise the impact that it will have but the measures are adopted to protect the interests of their citizens even if they have an impact beyond their national jurisdiction or boundaries. Thus the pandemic also affected trading across borders.

On a positive note, the COVID-19 pandemic had enhanced the use of information and communication technology. The presenter noted that some countries had begun accepting e-certificates of origin in payments, e-certificates for standards and communicating digitally to expedite decisions and facilitate trade. The lesson to be learnt was that if digital trade solutions work in the Region during the time of the pandemic, then there was need to seriously consider adopting them post-COVID as they bring significant cost and time savings and reduce the transaction cost of doing business which disproportionately impacts SMEs. However, the region must remain wary that digital trade is contingent upon network connectivity and energy security which the Region has to improve.

Conversely, the coronavirus had exposed Africa and the region’s vulnerability. The presenter pointed out that Africa as a continent is home to thirty-three (33) of the world’s forty-seven (47) least developed countries. Of those 33, fourteen (14) are landlocked which brings its own challenges while some are also small island countries which brings additional challenges. To this end, the budgets of the majority of nations had been stretched to the limit in attempting to mitigate the pandemic leaving them largely dependent on external support. While this support was welcome, the presenter cautioned that some of the support would only worsen the national debt post-COVID 19. This would have a bearing on reconstruction and recovery efforts. It was, therefore, important for Parliaments to closely monitor the national debt with a view to ensuring that it does not adversely affect the country’s resilience in future.

Ms Hartzenberg also flagged the strain that had been placed by the COVID-19 pandemic on diaspora remittances as one of the economic effects of the pandemic. She noted that in some countries, diaspora remittances make a significant contribution to financial inflows at the household and national level. As such they were critical for livelihoods and access to essential services and supplies. Regrettably, the World Investment Report predicted that foreign direct investment to African countries would decline by between 25% and 40% which is a very significant reduction particularly in view of the fact that most African countries did not generate enough savings to translate into domestic investment. National Parliaments were, therefore, duty-bound to initiate dialogue and find solutions to the heavy dependence on diaspora remittances going forward.

The presenter noted that though generally the statistics appeared to show that there was a greater infection rate among men than women in the SADC Region, there was an unfortunate dearth of statistics in relation to how the pandemic was impacting on women and girls at the household and national level. It was imperative, therefore, for solid, evidence-based research to be carried out to determine the economic and social impact of the pandemic on women and girls at the household and community level.

The pandemic had also resulted in a significant reduction in commodity prices on the international market due to a decline in demand resulting from the closure of borders and national lockdowns. For instance, the price of oil had gone down leading to a concomitant reduction in the price of fuel in some countries. Additionally, the pandemic had also culminated in an inevitable shrinking of the tourism sector and related downstream sectors by 3.3%. The Region’s recovery was thus inextricably tied to the recovery of the global economy.

True to the maxim that says “necessity is the mother of invention,” the pandemic had also exposed the ingenuity of business people and young people in the Region. UNICEF had launched a COVID-19 Design Innovation Challenge and youths from the length and breadth of the continent had responded positively with new products and new digital solutions. A case in point was the 23-year old Malawian national who had developed an offline mobile learning application. The majority of inventions were digital innovations which would put the Region at a competitive advantage on the global market post-COVID.

The presenter commended Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and the SADC PF for issuing Guidelines and recommendations to assist SADC countries in the fight against the pandemic. She noted that the Guidelines developed by the SADC PF, which called for co-operation among Member States, had been proactively issued in April, shortly after the outbreak of the pandemic, which demonstrated the Forum’s responsiveness to issues affecting the region. However, she noted with dismay that whilst the Guidelines provided a comprehensive reference point for adaptive strategies, the major drawback was that they were not binding on Member States and thus could not be enforced. She called upon the Committee to find ways of ensuring that the Guidelines are implemented.

In view of the foregoing impact of the pandemic, the presenter made the following recommendations:

  • She called on Africa and the region to focus on enhancing its productive capacity by harnessing the intellect of students at universities and tertiary institutions to repurpose the Region’s productive capacity.
  • She stressed the need for consultation, co-operation and a co-ordinated regional response in customs and border management, harmonisation of tariffs and trade facilitation, among other issues.
  • She implored policy-makers in the Region to initiate discussions on post-COVID recovery, reconstruction and resilience. The discussions ought to centre on diversification and developing productive capacity, food security in terms of linking agriculture to industrial development, trade facilitation, development of the services sector, that is, health care, education, transport, communications, including digital health care solutions which remained untapped, and enhancing Governments’ capacity to respond to and manage crises.

In the ensuing deliberations, the Chairperson expressed the Committee’s appreciation to Ms Trudi Hartzenberg for an informative and eye-opening presentation. The Chairperson conceded that, indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic had thrown the spotlight on the need for SADC countries to work together in fighting the pandemic following the realisation that what affected one country was likely to affect its neighbours. To that end, the Committee undertook to use the presentation as an informative baseline in lobbying for the implementation of the Guidelines.

CONCLUDING REMARKS

In her concluding remarks, the Chairperson thanked the Secretariat for laying the groundwork for a successful meeting. She also reiterated the Committee’s appreciation to Ms Hartzenberg for taking time off her busy schedule to deliver an enriching and mutually edifying presentation. She averred that the information they had been given would allow the Committee Members to make evidence-based interventions during deliberations in their national Parliaments and at the Forum.

ANY OTHER BUSINESS

There being no further business to transact, the meeting adjourned at 12:12 hours.

 

Minutes of the HSDSP for the meeting of 16 October 2020

The mooted legislation aimed at addressing gender-based violence in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region received another boost last week when magistrates and religious and traditional leaders gave it the nod.

The SADC Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF) has, since last month, been holding broad consultations with various stakeholders in the region on the draft SADC Model Law on Gender-Based Violence. Amongst those consulted for input so far and have welcomed the draft are SADC Line Ministries, SADC Chief Justices, judicial officers, Human Rights Commissioners, lawyers, the police, legal drafters, United Nations agencies, donors and the media.

Delivering the keynote address at the consultation with religious and traditional leaders held on Thursday, Her Royal Highness Princess Mihanta Ramanantsoa of Madagascar, commended the Model Law for being "rightly neutral when it comes to gender violence", saying that GBV was not only about women and children.

"Most of us think GBV is only men abusing women, but men are also victims of violence; it is a societal problem. We are ready to work with SADC to implement the model law so that our communities may enjoy their human rights," said Princess Ramanantsoa while adding that the Covid-19 pandemic is forcing the world to change the paradigm by putting human beings back at the center of our concerns.

"This world is a meaningful world in which politicians realize that there can be no economic development without human development. The common cultural background that we share as Africans should naturally push us to design a framework that guarantees everyone, and especially the most vulnerable members of our societies, protection and access to their basic rights. Because a right that is not respected is a form of violence."

Princess Ramanatsoa expressed "our special gratitude to Madam Secretary General of the SADC Parliamentary Forum for deliberately including us in these consultations."

Professor Ezra Chitando from the World Council of Churches, Southern Africa region, commended the SADC-PF for recognising the strategic role of religious and traditional leaders in the development and implementation of the model law. "According to the Afrobarometer Dispatch 339 of 2020, Africans trust their religious and traditional leaders more than any other leaders. We are on the frontline responding to cases of GBV when they happen, as well as seeking to provide counselling to prevent them from happening."

Prof Chitando also pledged the religious sector's commitment to fighting for the promotion of gender equality, to reduce gender discrimination and prevent gender abuses and acts of violence related to gender.

The Vice-President of Traditional Affairs in Africa, King Ndimu from the Democratic Republic of Congo, highlighted the conflict between African culture and international law, saying that African culture is often undermined by the West. "The West is denigrating our culture. We have to listen to our traditional laws and not recognised ourselves through the lens of international law. International law should be compatible with our laws, not the other way round. Each and every country in the continent must value African culture."

SADC-PF Secretary-General Ms Boemo Sekgoma acknowledged the conflict but said reconciliation is possible. "International law is based on equality, while culture often privileges men and treats them as more superior than women. Through this Model Law we can achieve equality between men and women," said Sekgoma while adding that this model law brings international best practices on GBV legislation to the SADC region, customised for the SADC context.

"Your input as religious and traditional leaders is necessary to strengthen the social fabric of the SADC region. I believe you will concur with me to find that the legal provisions concerning GBV are mostly in harmony with religious and traditional values. Where there are discrepancies, we will be open to discuss them and we indeed require your immense wisdom and on-the-field experience to rationalise provisions in view of the finalisation of the SADC Model Law," said Ms Sekgoma.

She also emphasised that the model law is in no way meant to undermine any cultural or religious customs, and is premised on the human rights to physical integrity, health, life and the protection of the individual from torture and inhuman and degrading treatment. "The mainstay of the Model Law consists of an unflinching compliance with human rights that are generally accepted internationally in global instruments as well as in the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights," she said.

Presenting on behalf of the legal drafter of the model law, Ms Clare Musonda said the model law is not a treaty, and therefore it does not require a signature from member states. However, it will be distributed for member states to draw upon to fill any existing gaps in their domestic legislation.

Speaking at Friday's consultation with magistrates South African High Court Judge, Justice Shaanaz Mia, also commended the Forum saying it "is doing well by seeking to introduce this Model Law."

Justice Mia raised concern that even though in the SADC region there are laws that protect people's rights, "it has become a lot easier for women to be violated. We need to recognise that GBV is a violation of the person's human rights."

"By empowering ourselves with this knowledge we are responsible for ensuring that the legislation is implemented well," said Justice Mia while addressing her SADC colleagues responsible for the administration of justice.

"It is important to ensure that the statements are gathered timeously… I cannot stress the number of times that dockets have been postponed for further investigation, this impacts on the victim's trust of the justice system," said Justice Mia adding that magistrates can play a role in holding court officials to account.

Ms Sekgoma said it would have been remiss to not consult Magistrates of the SADC region "who are at the forefront of trials related to GBV offences. Without a doubt, this consultation today will assist the Forum and its partners in understanding further the intricacies that come with GBV enforcement and sentencing of GBV offences under the auspices of the Magistrate's Court since most GBV related offences would fall within the province of the Magistrate's Court. Magistrates are indeed in the right place to comment on the GBV Model Law from the enforcement standpoint."

A Malawi Magistrate, His Worship Kandulu, stressed the importance of ensuring that the wording of the SADC Model Law on GBV was inclusive. "As far as I agree that gender-based violence is increasingly against women, but in my court, I have dealt with situations where men have been victims of gender-based violence."

Merlene Greyvenstein, from South Africa, highlighted challenges experience in lower courts when implementing laws. "All the information and visions are exemplary, however in practice in SA in lower courts, we are challenged with the means to implement. Staff shortage (posts not filled), overcrowded rolls, systems often inoperative, etc. Unfortunately with my best attempts, often victims are failed, not intentional but due to the challenges."

A LA

RÉUNION VIRTUELLE DE LA COMMISSION PERMANENTE TENUE SOUS LE THÈME «Tirer parti du tourisme domestique en période de pandémie: un cas de pandémie de COVID-19: le rôle des parlements»

 

RECONNAISSANCE DES ENTITÉS PRÉSENTES À LA SESSION

  • Chers membres de la Commission permanente sur l’alimentation, l’agriculture et les ressources naturelles,
  • Mme. Boemo Sekgoma, Secrétaire générale de FP-SADC;
  • Nos éminents conférenciers;
  • Mesdames et Messieurs.

C’est un grand honneur et un grand privilège de vous souhaiter la bienvenue à cette réunion de la Commission permanente sur l’alimentation, l’agriculture et les ressources naturelles.

Chers membres de la Commission, nous sommes réunis aujourd’hui pour débattre de la question de «L’exploitation du tourisme domestique en période de pandémie : le cas de la pandémie de COVID-19 - le rôle des parlements.»

Comme le savent déjà les honorables membres de la Commission, nous avons passé plus d’un an depuis l’apparition de la pandémie de COVID-19. Le monde a continué de relever de nombreux défis socio-économiques à la suite de la pandémie. Les restrictions imposées par COVID ont entraîné la paralysie de l’économie mondiale et du secteur touristique. Cette pandémie a eu, en particulier, un impact profond sur le secteur touristique mondial. Les restrictions de voyage, la quarantaine et la fermeture des transports ont conduit à environ 22 pour cent de réduction des arrivées de touristes étrangers au premier trimestre 2020 par rapport à 2019, et peut-être jusqu’à 60 à 80 pour cent le reste de l’année 2020.

Chers membres de la Commission, selon le Conseil mondial des voyages et du tourisme, la pandémie de COVID-19 pourrait réduire d’environ 50 millions d’emplois dans le monde dans l’industrie du voyage et du tourisme. Il convient de noter que l’industrie du tourisme représente environ 10 % du produit intérieur brut mondial.

Les défis soulignés ci-dessus sont encore aggravés par le fait que les marchés sources du tourisme en Afrique tels que la Chine, les États-Unis et l’Europe figurent parmi les pays les plus touchés par la pandémie. Ces pays ont mis en place des barrières partielles et totales ainsi que d’autres restrictions de déplacement. Bien que certains experts appellent que le tourisme domestique donne une impulsion à la reprise de plusieurs destinations touristiques, ce n’est qu’en partie, car il ne compense pas la baisse de la demande internationale.

D’autres projections indiquent que, dans la plupart des pays, le tourisme ne devrait pas revenir à son niveau de pré-pandémie d’ici 2023. Cela pourrait même être pire pour l’Afrique, étant donné que ses secteurs du tourisme et des voyages sont affectés de manière disproportionnée par la pandémie, s’ajoutant à d’autres défis socio-économiques qui ont été précipités par la pandémie. Il est tout à fait possible que l’Afrique prenne plus de temps que d’autres régions, principalement en raison de l’absence de demande intérieure et infrarégionale.

Le tourisme peut également ne pas être une priorité pour de nombreux gouvernements africains, car les préoccupations d’autres secteurs tels que les soins de santé, la petite industrie de production de biens et l’agriculture pourraient être plus impérieuses. En conséquence, l’impact sur le secteur touristique en Afrique devrait être global et de longue durée. L’Afrique australe en ressent déjà l’impact, et les Seychelles, l’île Maurice, l’Afrique du Sud, la Zambie et le Zimbabwe, entre autres, ont enregistré de fortes chutes d’afflux de touristes étrangers. L’UNWTO avait fait savoir que 100 pour cent des destinations dans le monde continuent à avoir des restrictions de voyage, et 72 pour cent ont complètement fermé leurs frontières au tourisme international.

Chers membres de la Commission, il est tout à fait clair pour nous tous que le tourisme joue un rôle fondamental dans nos économies. Le tourisme contribue de manière significative au PIB, aux recettes d’exportation, à l’emploi, à l’investissement dans le capital humain et les infrastructures des pays de la SADC. Par conséquent, le tourisme a le potentiel d’être un catalyseur pour la reprise dans de nombreux coins de la région.

Chers membres de la Commission, avec engagement et dévouement, il est possible que le tourisme puisse revenir à son niveau d’avant la pandémie. La diversification, la transition vers des modèles de tourisme plus durables et l’investissement dans les nouvelles technologies pourraient contribuer à donner corps à la reprise. C’est une occasion pour les États membres de mettre le tourisme au centre de leur attention et de le soutenir. En outre, les politiques et interventions des gouvernements seront cruciales pour la relance du secteur touristique.

Il appartient donc aux pays membres de commencer à réexaminer leur secteur touristique dans le contexte de la pandémie de COVID 19. Il est essentiel que nous empruntions des chemins novateurs capables de créer des secteurs touristiques durables et résilients qui puissent résister même en période de crise comme la pandémie de COVID-19.

Chers membres, comme on l’a déjà dit, de nombreux pays de la SADC prospèrent grâce aux touristes étrangers. La pandémie de COVID-19 ne fait que le confirmer. Le tourisme international ne devrait se rétablir qu’après la mise en place effective d’un vaccin. Le défi auquel les États membres sont actuellement confrontés est de savoir comment arrêter les opérations et préserver les emplois jusqu’à ce que la crise se calme. À ce stade, et avant la mise en œuvre complète du vaccin, notre espoir est placé dans le tourisme domestique.

Avant l’épidémie de pandémie, certains États membres avaient peut-être pris des mesures délibérées pour dynamiser le tourisme domestique. Il apparaît également que certains États membres ont pris des mesures pour atténuer l’impact de la crise sur le tourisme. Toutefois, compte tenu de l’impact profond que la pandémie de COVID-19 a eu sur le tourisme dans la région de la SADC, il est impératif que des mesures soient prises d’urgence pour minimiser les impacts économiques.

Il appartient donc aux pays de la SADC de commencer à repenser le tourisme et de se concentrer sur l’augmentation de la promotion du tourisme et des voyages intra-africains. Cela servira de catalyseur pour stimuler la reprise et stimuler la croissance dans l’industrie.

Le rôle des parlementaires dans cette question est fondamental, car il requiert l’adoption de politiques et l’adoption de mesures législatives susceptibles de dynamiser le tourisme domestique. Il est également essentiel que les parlements fassent pression en faveur d’une augmentation des crédits budgétaires destinés au secteur touristique afin d’accélérer la reprise.

Chers membres de la Commission, nous avons aujourd’hui le privilège de compter sur des experts en notre sein, et je n’ai aucun doute que, à la fin de la réunion, nous serons équipés des informations qui nous aideront à proposer des recommandations qui peuvent contribuer à la création de secteurs touristiques résilients.

J’ai maintenant l’honneur et le privilège de déclarer officiellement ouverte la réunion de la Commission permanente sur l’alimentation, l’agriculture et les ressources naturelles.

Je vous remercie.

 

PRÉSENTS

Hon. Marapeleng Malefane, Vice-president                         Lesotho

Hon. Tshitereke Baldwin Matibe                                           Afrique du Sud

Hon. Polson Majaga                                                             Botswana

Hon. Princess Phumelele Dlamini                                        Eswatini

Hon. Lova Herizo Rajabelina                                                Madagascar

Hon. Tambudzani Mohadi                                                     Zimbabwe

SE SONT EXCUSÉS

Hon Andre Leon Tumba, Président                                       RDC

Hon. Prof. Nkandu Luo                                                          Zambie

Hon. Marie Genevieve Stephanie Anquetil                            Maurice

Hon. Samuel Kawala                                                             Malawi

Hon. Helena Bonguela Abel                                                   Angola

Hon. Carlos Manuel                                                               Mozambique

Y ONT AUSSI PRIS PART

Mlle Boemo Mmandu Sekgoma                  Secrétaire Générale (FP-SADC)

M. Sheuneni Kurasha                               Manager de Programme (FP-SADC)

Dr Lewis Hove                                          Chef d’équipe du bureau sous-régional d’Afrique australe, Organisation des Nations Unies pour l’alimentation et l’agriculture

Mlle Chikondi Chavuta                             Personne-ressource pour l’Afrique de l’est et australe. Conseiller humanitaire, ActionAid International.

 

ORDRE DU JOUR

  • Pouvoirs des délégués et excuses
  • Adoption de l’ordre du jour.
  • Mot de bienvenue.
  • Examen du procès-verbal de la réunion de la Commission permanente FANR tenue les 9 et 10 juillet 2020.
  • Examen des questions découlant du procès-verbal de la réunion Commission permanente FANR tenue les 9 et 10 juillet 2020.
  • Exposé sur le thème «L’impact du criquet migrateur africain sur l’agriculture et la sécurité alimentaire en Afrique australe: que peuvent faire les parlements?

La séance est ouverte à 10h06.

  • POUVOIRS DES DELEGUÉS ET EXCUSES

Les pouvoirs des membres de la commission sont présentés et le quorum est confirmé pour la tenue de la réunion.

  • ADOPTION DE L’ORDRE DU JOUR

Sur proposition de l’Afrique du Sud et appuyée par le Zimbabwe, l’ordre du jour est adopté tel que présenté.

  • MOT DE BIENVENU DU PRÉSIDENT

Conformément à l’article 39(2) du Règlement du FP-SADC et en l’absence du Président et du Vice-Président, la réunion a désigné un membre présent, l’honorable Tshitereke Baldwin Matibe comme Président intérimaire.

Le Président intérimaire, l’honorable Matibe a souhaité la bienvenue à tous les députés. Il a également souhaité une bienvenue à Mme Boemo Sekgoma, Secrétaire générale du FP-SADC. L’honorable Matibe a félicité le Secrétariat du pour avoir veillé à ce que les commissions permanentes du FP-SADC continuent de se réunir même dans des conditions difficiles découlant des restrictions imposées dans le cadre de la pandémie de COVID-19. Il a mentionné que la COVID-19 a nécessité que les réunions et les autres activités se déroulent virtuellement au moyen de réunions via zoom. Cependant, ce nouveau développement a mis en lumière les défis que de nombreux pays d’Afrique australe ont dû relever en ce qui concerne les technologies de l’information et de la communication, en particulier la mauvaise connectivité à Internet. À cet égard, l’honorable Matibe a exhorté la commission à s’intéresser aux questions des technologies de l’information et des communications.

L’honorable Matibe a informé la Commission permanente que la réunion a été convoquée sous le thème « L’impact de l’épidémie du criquet migrateur africain sur l’agriculture et la sécurité alimentaire en Afrique australe: que peuvent faire les parlements? Il a noté que l’arrivée du criquet migrateur africain et les dommages causés aux cultures aggraveraient l’insécurité alimentaire existante en Afrique australe. Il a expliqué qu’avant l’avènement des criquets migrateurs africains, les secteurs agricoles de la plupart des pays étaient déjà en difficulté en raison des impacts du changement climatique tels que les inondations et les sécheresses. Il a informé la commission que la majeure partie de la région d’Afrique australe dépendait fortement de l’agriculture comme et que tout impact sur le secteur posait de graves problèmes socioéconomiques. Il a informé que la session se concentrerait donc sur les mesures qui pourraient améliorer la situation. Enfin, l’honorable Matibe a invité tous les députés à participer pleinement aux délibérations.

EXAMEN ET ADOPTION DU PROCÈS-VERBAL DE LA RÉUNION VIRTUELLE DE LA COMMISSION PERMANENTE FANR TENUE LE JEUDI 09 ET LE VENDREDI 10 JUILLET 2020

Sur proposition de l’Afrique du Sud et appuyée par Estwatini, le procès-verbal de la commission permanente FANR a été approuvé comme un véritable reflet des réunions tenues le jeudi 9 et le vendredi 10 juillet 2020.

EXAMEN DES QUESTIONS DECOULANT DU PROCÈS-VERBAL DE LA RÉUNION VIRTUELLE DE LA COMMISSION PERMANENTE FANR TENUE LE JEUDI 09 ET LE VENDREDI 10 JUILLET 2020

Aucune correction n’est apportée et aucune question n’a été soulevée; par conséquent, le procès-verbal a été approuvé comme reflet fidèle des réunions de la commission permanente FANR qui a eu lieu le jeudi 9 et le vendredi 10 juillet 2020.

Afin de mieux comprendre le sujet à l’étude, la  commission permanente FANR a suivi les présentations des personnes-ressources suivantes:

  • Dr Lewis Hove

Chef d’équipe du bureau sous-régional d’Afrique australe, Organisation des Nations Unies pour l’alimentation et l’agriculture

  • Ms Chikondi Chavuta

Personne-ressource pour l’Afrique de l’est et australe. Conseiller humanitaire, ActionAid International.

Les points saillants des présentations, y compris la discussion en plénière, les conclusions et les recommandations, ont été présentés ci-dessous.

 

L’IMPACT DU CRIQUET MIGRATEUR AFRICAIN SUR L’AGRICULTURE ET LA SÉCURITÉ ALIMENTAIRE 

  • Le criquet migrateur africain (AML) est une menace pour l’agriculture et la sécurité alimentaire en Afrique australe et s’il n’était pas contrôlé, il pourrait exacerber la crise alimentaire déjà existante dans la région.
  • L’avènement du criquet migrateur africain a été enregistré pour la première fois en mai 2020 et, depuis lors, huit États membres de la SADC ont été touchés, à savoir le Botswana, Eswatini, le Malawi, le Mozambique, la Namibie, l’Afrique du Sud, la Tanzanie et la Zambie.
  • Le criquet migrateur africain a posé un danger à la production végétale et au pâturage du bétail au cours de la saison agricole 2020/2021 et au-delà.
  • Selon le rapport régional d’évaluation et d’analyse de la vulnérabilité de la SADC 2020, environ 44,8 millions de personnes dans la région d’Afrique australe vivaient déjà dans l’insécurité alimentaire avant même l’apparition du criquet migrateur africain.
  • La Communauté de développement de l’Afrique australe a reçu un soutien considérable de l’Organisation des Nations Unies pour l’alimentation et l’agriculture, de la Communauté de développement de l’Afrique australe et de l’Organisation internationale de lutte contre le criquet migrateur en Afrique centrale et australe. À cet égard, un plan régional de lutte contre le criquet migrateur d’une valeur de 4,3 millions de dollars US a été mis en place pour des opérations de surveillance et de contrôle et pour protéger les moyens de subsistance contre l’impact du criquet migrateur.
  • Au cours de la dernière décennie, la région de l’Afrique australe a été témoin de foyers de phytoravageurs et de maladies transfrontières qui ont causé des ravages et entraîné une réduction de la production des principales cultures vivrières.
  • Les changements climatiques ont entraîné un afflux de ravageurs et de maladies des plantes destructrices, y compris, mais sans s’y limiter, les mouches des fruits, la légionnaire d’automne, la mineuse des feuilles de tomate tuta absoluta, la flétrissure fusarienne de la banane, le virus de la toux des bananes, le virus de la raie brune du manioc et la maladie du souffle du blé.
  • Le criquet migrateur africain avait exacerbé les défis économiques auxquels les États membres étaient déjà confrontés, notamment les contraintes de ressources imposées par les mécanismes de riposte à la COVID-19.
  • Certains des pesticides utilisés pour contrôler la propagation du criquet migrateur africain pouvaient avoir des effets environnementaux négatifs sur la santé humaine et les écosystèmes.
  • La pandémie de COVID-19 a exacerbé la crise alimentaire en Afrique australe et la sécurité alimentaire devrait se détériorer encore davantage.

Conclusions et Résolutions

À la suite des présentations et des discussions, la commission FANR a conclu et résolu ce qui suit:

  • Les parlements membres de la SADC plaideront et feront pression sur les gouvernements respectifs pour qu’ils financent et dotent adéquatement les institutions chargées de gérer la propagation des criquets migrateurs africains.
  • Les pays de la SADC veillent à ce que des études d’impact sur l’environnement soient menées afin de surveiller les dommages environnementaux potentiels pouvant être causés par l’utilisation de pesticides chimiques.
  • Les États membres doivent améliorer la surveillance, l’échange d’informations et les systèmes d’alerte précoce pour les phytoravageurs et les maladies transfrontalières.
  • Les États membres de la SADC doivent travailler en étroite collaboration avec la SADC et des partenaires tels que la FAO, l’IRLCO-CSA et d’autres institutions pour renforcer les liens existants afin d’assurer une action collective efficace et opportune dans la gestion du criquet migrateur africain et d’autres organismes nuisibles qui menacent la sécurité alimentaire de la région.
  • La nécessité pour les États membres de la SADC de collaborer avec l’Organisation internationale de lutte contre l’acridienne des criquets rouges pour l’Afrique centrale et australe afin de bénéficier des interventions des deux organisations.
  • Les États membres tiennent compte des facteurs humains et environnementaux lorsqu’ils éliminent des pesticides chimiques.
  • Les États membres adopteront un système de lutte intégrée contre les criquets migrateurs africains.
  • Afin de protéger la santé humaine et l’environnement, les États membres doivent tenir compte des lignes directrices contenues dans la Convention de Rotterdam sur l’élimination des pesticides chimiques.
  • Les États membres fourniront un soutien à l’industrie nationale pour la production et l’enregistrement des biopesticides.
  • Les parlements nationaux utiliseront leur mandat pour encourager les gouvernements respectifs à prendre rapidement des mesures pour contrôler la propagation des criquets migrateurs africains.
  • Les États membres doivent renforcer les mécanismes existants destinés à faire face aux changements climatiques, car il est évident que leurs effets ont des conséquences de grande portée à la fois sur les êtres humains et sur l’environnement.

L’ordre du jour étant épuisé, la séance de la commission FANR est levée à 11h 36.

Procès-Verbal De La Réunion Virtuelle De La Commission Permanente Sur L’alimentation, L’agriculture Et Les Ressources Naturelles (FANR) Tenue Le Mercredi 11 Novembre 2020

Thème:     Tirer parti du tourisme national en période de pandémie: un cas de pandémie de COVID-19: le rôle des parlements

 INTRODUCTION

Le monde est confronté à une crise sanitaire, sociale et économique sans précédent à cause de la pandémie de COVID-19. Depuis son apparition en décembre 2019, la pandémie a continué de faire sentir ses effets dévastateurs sur les économies mondiales, y compris celles de nombreux pays africains. L’épidémie et les mesures de confinement qui en découlent ont eu un impact énorme sur l’industrie touristique mondiale, et les pays africains ont été durement touchés, en particulier ceux qui dépendent de touristes étrangers. Les restrictions sur les voyages, la quarantaine et la fermeture des transports ont entraîné une réduction d’environ 22 % des arrivées de touristes internationaux en 2020 par rapport à 2019, et peut-être de 60 à 80 % tout au long de l’année. Aujourd’hui, l’industrie du voyage et du tourisme se bat pour survivre, et 50 millions d’emplois dans le monde sont menacés par la pandémie.

Selon les projections des perspectives économiques mondiales, l’économie mondiale a reculé de 4,4 % en 2020 et le choc dans les économies tributaires du tourisme serait beaucoup plus prononcé. Le produit domestique brut réel des pays africains dépendant du tourisme a diminué de 12 %. Les pays tributaires du tourisme devraient également être sur le point de ressentir les effets négatifs de la crise bien plus longtemps que les autres économies, parce que les services qui nécessitent des contacts intensifs, indispensables pour les secteurs du tourisme et des voyages, sont affectés de manière disproportionnée par la pandémie et continueront à se battre jusqu’à ce que les gens se sentent en sécurité pour voyager à nouveau.

Bien que le tourisme interne stimule la reprise de plusieurs destinations, dans la plupart des cas, cette reprise n’est que partielle, car elle ne compense pas la baisse de la demande internationale. Cette situation donne lieu au postulat selon lequel les recettes du tourisme au niveau mondial ne devraient pas se redresser pour atteindre les niveaux de 2019 d’ici 2023.

Considérant l’impact négatif que la pandémie de COVID-19 a sur les économies de la plupart des pays de la SADC, en particulier sur l’industrie touristique, qui est un contributeur majeur au PIB de la plupart des pays d’Afrique australe, il est impératif de prendre des mesures ou de renforcer les politiques et les lois existantes afin de soutenir le tourisme dans les pays de la SADC. C’est dans ce contexte que la commission évaluera la devise «Tirer profit du tourisme domestique en période de pandémie : le cas de la pandémie de COVID-19 : le rôle des parlements».

OBJECTIF GÉNÉRAL ET OBJECTIFS SPÉCIFIQUES DE LA RÉUNION

La réunion de la Commission permanente sur l’alimentation, l’agriculture et les ressources naturelles vise à explorer des voies pouvant être suivies pour dynamiser le tourisme domestique pendant la pandémie de COVID-19 et au-delà.

Elle poursuit les objectifs spécifiques suivants:

  • apprécier les défis auxquels les États membres sont confrontés pour soutenir le secteur touristique à la suite de la pandémie de COVID-19;
  • apprendre comment l’innovation et la numérisation peuvent aider à optimiser le tourisme dans les États membres;
  • mettre en place des mesures et des stratégies durables visant à dynamiser le tourisme domestique; et
  • faire des recommandations sur la façon dont le tourisme peut être soutenu en période de pandémie.

MÉTHODOLOGIE

Cette activité se déroulera en format virtuel sur la plateforme Zoom. La commission bénéficiera de communications spécialisées qui seront présentées par l’Organisation mondiale du tourisme (UNWTO), le Secrétariat de la SADC et le Marché commun pour l’Afrique orientale et australe (COMESA) qui ont une grande vision du sujet à partir d’études qui ont été menées sur l’impact de la pandémie de COVID-19 sur l’économie mondiale, y compris le tourisme.

RÉSULTATS ESCOMPTÉS

La réunion devrait mettre en lumière des mesures et des stratégies susceptibles de promouvoir le tourisme domestique dans les pays de la SADC. À la suite de ces mesures, il est prévu que les honorables membres acquièrent de précieuses connaissances sur la manière de gérer le tourisme, même au milieu d’une pandémie comme celle de COVID-19. Cela permettra aux États membres de faire des recommandations par le biais de différents processus dans leurs pays respectifs.

 

Note Conceptuelle Réunion Virtuelle De La Commission Permanente Sur L’alimentation, L’agriculture Et Les Ressources Naturelles Lundi, 12 avril 2021

Date:          Lundi 12 avril 2021

Heure:        09:30 - 12:30

14:00 - 16:00

 

Lieu:          Réunion Virtuelle 

  • Effectif des membres présents et justification des absences
  • Adoption de l’ordre du jour
  • Allocution de bienvenue du Président de la commission
  • Analyse du procès-verbal et des questions nécessitant un suivi depuis la réunion virtuelle de la Commission permanente sur l’agriculture qui s’est tenue le mercredi 11 novembre 2020
  • Analyse de la Note conceptuelle sur le thème proposé par la Commission permanente du FANR «Pour l’exploitation du tourisme domestique pendant la pandémie: le cas de la pandémie de COVID-19 - Le rôle des parlements»
  • Divers

 

AGENDA ANNOTÉ

SUJETS À EXAMINER

ADOPTION DE L’AGENDA

Les membres sont invités à examiner et à adopter la proposition d’ordre du jour présentée par la commission.

ANALYSE DU PROCÈS-VERBAL ET DES QUESTIONS NÉCESSITANT UN SUIVI DEPUIS LA RÉUNION VIRTUELLE DE LA COMMISSION PERMANENTE SUR L’AGRICULTURE (FANR) DU 11 NOVEMBRE 2020)

Comme le savent les membres, lors de la dernière réunion virtuelle du 11 novembre 2020, la Commission a examiné et a formulé les recommandations suivantes.

L’IMPACT DE LA SAUTERELLE MIGRATRICE AFRICAINE (GMA) SUR L’AGRICULTURE ET LA SÉCURITÉ ALIMENTAIRE EN AFRIQUE AUSTRALE

Entre autres recommandations, la Commission a invité les États membres de la SADC à travailler en étroite collaboration avec l’Organisation des Nations unies pour l’alimentation et l’agriculture (FAO), le Secrétariat de la Communauté de développement de l’Afrique australe (SADC), l’Organisation internationale pour le contrôle de la sauterelle rouge en Afrique centrale et australe (IRLCO-CSAO) et d’autres institutions, pour renforcer les interconnexions existantes afin de garantir une action collective efficace et en temps utile dans la gestion de l’GMA et d’autres organismes nuisibles qui menacent la sécurité alimentaire de l’Afrique australe. La Commission a également recommandé que les parlements membres fassent la défense et le lobbying auprès de leurs gouvernements respectifs en faveur d’un financement adéquat et de la création de la capacité des institutions mandatées pour gérer le contrôle des criquets migrateurs africains.

En outre, la Commission avait exhorté les États membres à adopter des systèmes intégrés de lutte contre les sauterelles afin de lutter efficacement contre la propagation des parasites. En ce qui concerne les effets néfastes sur l’environnement, la Commission a recommandé que les États membres réalisent périodiquement des évaluations des incidences sur l’environnement, afin de déterminer les dommages environnementaux pouvant résulter de l’utilisation de pesticides chimiques pour lutter contre l’organisme nuisible de la sauterelle migratrice africaine.

 ANALYSE DU DOCUMENT DE SYNTHÈSE POUR LA PROPOSITION DU THEME DE LA COMMISSION PERMANENTE FANR                                                                          

La Commission est invitée à examiner et à approuver la proposition du slogan : «Tirer parti du tourisme national en période de pandémie: un cas de pandémie de COVID-19: le rôle des parlements»

Pour avoir une idée sur le sujet, la Commission suivra les communications de l’Organisation mondiale du tourisme, du marché commun pour l’Afrique orientale et australe et de la Communauté de développement des pays d’Afrique australe.

DIVERS

Agenda Annoté Réunion De La Commission Permanente Sur L’alimentation, L’agriculture Et Les Ressources Naturelles (FANR)

MISSION CONSULTATIVE PRÉ-ÉLECTORALE DE LA SADC PF EN ZAMBIE

Interface virtuelle entre la Commission permanente de la SADC PF sur la démocratisation, la gouvernance et les droits de l'homme (DGHR), et les parties prenantes électorales en Zambie sur la transposition en droit interne de la loi type de la SADC sur les élections, avant les élections générales de 2021 en Zambie.

Du 22 au 31 Mars 2021

 

PROGRAMME

À propos de nous

Le Forum parlementaire de la Communauté de développement de l'Afrique australe (SADC PF) a été créé en 1997 conformément à l'article 9 (2) du Traité de la SADC en tant qu'institution autonome de la SADC. Il s'agit d'un organe interparlementaire régional composé de treize (14) parlements représentant plus de 3500 parlementaires dans la région de la SADC.

Nous contacter

Adresse: ERF 578, Love rue près de Robert Mugabe Avenue Windhoek, Namibie

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