The SADC Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Model Law Consultative Meeting for Prosecutors from SADC Member States
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.
Minutes of the SADC PF Standing Committee on Democratisation, Governance and Human Rights Virtual Meeting held on 26th October 2020
- 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
- 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)
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.
- 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
- Prosecuting Authority
- Revenue authorities
- Central Bank
- 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:
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
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.
Closing Remarks by the Chairperson of the HSDSP Committee Honourable Bertha Ndebele MP, 16 April 2021
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
Minutes of the Meeting of the SADC Parliamentary Forum Standing Committee On Human Social Development And Special Programs (HSDSP), Held Virtually on Friday 16th October 2020
- 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
- Mr Dennis Gondwe, Secretary SADC PF Secretariat
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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."
Alocução De Boas-Vindas Pelo Presidente Da Comissão Permanente De Alimentação, Agricultura E Recursos Naturais Do FP-SADC Sua Excelência André Leon Tumba
REUNIÃO VIRTUAL DA COMISSÃO PERMANENTE SUBORDINADA AO LEMA «PELO APROVEITAMENTO DO TURISMO INTERNO EM TEMPOS DE PANDEMIA: O CASO DA PANDEMIA DE COVID-19 - O PAPEL DOS PARLAMENTOS»
RECONHECIMENTO DAS ENTIDADES PRESENTES NA SESSÃO
- Prezados membros da Comissão Permanente de Alimentação, Agricultura e Recursos Naturais;
- Boemo Sekgoma, Secretária-geral do FP-SADC;
- Nossos distintos Palestrantes;
- Distintos Participantes;
- Minhas Senhoras e meus Senhores.
É uma grande honra e privilégio desejar-lhes as boas-vindas a esta reunião da Comissão Permanente de Alimentação, Agricultura e Recursos Naturais.
Prezados membros da comissão, estamos reunidos para deliberarmos sobre a temática do «Aproveitamento do Turismo Interno em Tempos de Pandemia: O Caso da Pandemia de COVID-19 – O Papel dos Parlamentos.»
Como já é do conhecimentos dos ilustres membros da comissão, completamos mais de um ano desde o surgimento da pandemia de COVID-19. O mundo tem continuado a enfrentar muitos desafios socioeconómicos como resultado da pandemia. As restrições impostas pela COVID levaram à paralisação da economia mundial e do sector turístico. Esta pandemia tem tido, em especial, um impacto profundo sobre o sector turístico global. As restrições de viagens, as quarentenas e o fecho dos transportes levou a cerca de 22 por cento de redução das chegadas de turistas estrangeiros no primeiro trimestre de 2020, em comparação com 2019, e possivelmente até 60 a 80 por cento durante o resto do ano de 2020.
Prezados membros da comissão, segundo o Conselho Mundial de Viagens e Turismo, a pandemia de COVID-19 poderia cortar cerca de 50 milhões de empregos em todo o mundo na indústria de viagens e turismo. Importa assinalar que a indústria do turismo representa cerca de 10 por cento do produto interno bruto mundial.
Os desafios acima destacados são ainda agravados pelo facto de que os mercados-fonte do turismo da África tais como a China, os Estados Unidos da América e a Europa estão entre os países mais afectados pela pandemia. Estes países estabeleceram paralisações parciais e totais bem como outras restrições de deslocações. Embora alguns especialistas estejam a postular que o turismo interno está a dar um impulso à recuperação de vários destinos turísticos, isto é apenas em parte, uma vez que não está a compensar pela queda da demanda internacional.
Mais projecções indicam que, na maior parte dos países, não é provável que o turismo volte aos seus níveis pré-pandemia até cerca de 2023. Isto pode ser até pior para a África, uma vez que os seus sectores de turismo e viagens são afectados de forma desproporcional pela pandemia, aliando-se a outros desafios socioeconómicos que foram precipitados pela pandemia. É bem possível que a África leve mais tempo a recuperar do que as outras regiões, principalmente devido à falta da demanda interna e intra-regional. O turismo pode também não ser uma prioridade para muitos governos africanos, uma vez que as preocupações por outros sectores tais como os cuidados de saúde, a pequena indústria de produção de bens e a agricultura poderiam ser mais imperiosas. Como resultado, antecipa-se que o impacto sobre o sector turístico em África seja abrangente e de longa duração. A África Austral já está a sentir o impacto, e as Seicheles, as Maurícias, a África do Sul, a Zâmbia e o Zimbabwe, entre outros países, registaram quedas acentuadas de chegadas de turistas estrangeiros. A UNWTO tinha dado a conhecer que 100 por cento dos destinos no mundo continuam a ter restrições de viagens, e 72 por cento fecharam completamente as suas fronteiras ao turismo internacional.
Prezados membros da comissão, é absolutamente claro para todos nós que o turismo desempenha um papel fundamental nas nossas economias. O turismo contribui significativamente par o PIB, as receitas das exportações, o emprego, o investimento no capital humano e infra-estrutural dos países da SADC. Portanto, o turismo tem o potencial de ser um catalisador para a recuperação em muitos cantos da região.
Prezados membros da comissão, com empenho e dedicação, é possível que o turismo possa regressar aos níveis em que se encontrava antes da pandemia. A diversificação, a transição para modelos de turismo mais sustentáveis e o investimento nas novas tecnologias poderiam ajudar a dar corpo à recuperação. Esta é uma oportunidade para os respectivos Estados membros colocarem o turismo no centro das suas atenções e apoiá-lo. Além disso, as políticas e intervenções dos governos serão cruciais para a recuperação do sector turístico.
Cabe, portanto, aos países membros começarem a reexaminar os respectivos sectores turísticos no contexto da pandemia da COVID 19. É fundamental que trilhemos caminhos inovadores capazes de criar sectores turísticos sustentáveis e resilientes que possam aguentar mesmo em tempos de crises tais como a pandemia de COVID-19.
Prezados membros, como já foi aludido, muitos países da SADC prosperam graças aos turistas estrangeiros. A pandemia de COVID-19 só veio confirmar este facto. Presume-se também que o turismo internacional só vai recuperar depois da implementação efectiva de uma vacina. O desafio que os Estados membros estão a enfrentar actualmente é de saber como suster as operações e preservar os empregos até que a crise conheça um abrandamento. Nesta altura, e antes da plena implementação da vacina, a nossa esperança está depositada no turismo interno.
Antes do surto da pandemia, talvez alguns Estados membros tivessem tomado medidas deliberadas visando dinamizar o turismo interno. Consta também que alguns países membros tomaram medidas no sentido de mitigar o impacto da crise sobre o turismo. Contudo, tendo em conta o impacto profundo que a pandemia da COVID-19 tem tido sobre o turismo na região da SADC, é imperativo que sejam tomadas medidas urgentes com vista a minimizar os impactos económicos.
Compete, portanto, aos países da SADC começarem a repensar o turismo e concentrarem-se no aumento da promoção do turismo e de viagens intra-africanas. Isto vai servir como catalisador para impulsionar a recuperação e estimular o crescimento na indústria.
O papel dos parlamentares nesta questão é fundamental, uma vez que requer a adopção de políticas e a tomada de medidas legislativas que possam dinamizar o turismo interno. É também essencial que os parlamentos façam o lóbi em prol de mais dotações orçamentais destinadas ao sector turístico, para acelerar a recuperação.
Prezados membros da comissão, hoje temos o privilégio de contar com especialistas no nosso seio, e não tenho dúvida alguma de que, no fim da reunião, estaremos equipados com a informação que nos vai ajudar a propor recomendações que podem contribuir para a criação de sectores turísticos resilientes.
Tenho agora a honra e o privilégio de declarar a reunião da Comissão Permanente de Alimentação, Agricultura e Recursos Naturais oficialmente aberta.
UNWTO (2020a), Barómetro do Turismo no Mundo, vol. 18, n.º 2, Maio
WTTC (2020), a pesquisa mais recente do WTTC mostra um aumento de 50% de empregos em risco nas Viagens & Turismo, Conselho Mundial de Viagens e Turismo (WTTC), pode ser acessado em: https://www.wttc.org/about/media-centre/press-releases/press-releases/2020
Documento De Síntese Reunião Virtual Da Comissão Permanente De Alimentação, Agricultura E Recursos Naturais
Segunda-feira, 12 de Abril de 2021
Lema: Pelo Aproveitamento do Turismo Interno em Tempos de Pandemia: O Caso da Pandemia de COVID-19 – O Papel dos Parlamentos
O mundo enfrenta uma crise sanitária, social e económica sem precedente por causa da pandemia da COVID-19. Desde o seu surgimento em Dezembro de 2019, a pandemia tem continuado a fazer sentir os seus efeitos devastadores sobre as economias mundiais, incluindo as de muitos países africanos. O surto e os confinamentos concomitantes têm exercido um impacto tremendo sobre a indústria turística a nível mundial, e os países africanos têm sido negativamente afectados, sobretudo os que dependem de turistas estrangeiros. As restrições de viagens, as quarentenas e os fechos dos transportes levaram a cerca de 22 por cento de redução das chegadas de turistas internacionais em 2020, em comparação com 2019 e possivelmente 60 a 80 por cento ao longo de todo o ano. Actualmente, a indústria de viagens e turismo está a lutar para a sobrevivência, e uma estimativa de 50 milhões de empregos no mundo estão em risco devido à pandemia.
As projecções da Perspectiva da Economia Mundial indicam que a economia mundial contraiu em 4,4% durante 2020, e o choque nas economias dependentes do turismo seria muito mais acentuado. O produto interno bruto real dos países africanos dependentes do turismo diminuiu em 12 por cento. Projecta-se igualmente que os países dependentes do turismo estão na iminência de sentir os impactos negativos da crise durante muito mais tempo do que as outras economias, porque os serviços que necessitam de contactos intensivos que são imprescindíveis para os sectores do turismo e das viagens são afectados de forma desproporcional pela pandemia e vão continuar a debater-se até que as pessoas se sintam seguras para voltarem a viajar.
Embora o turismo interno esteja a dar um impulso à recuperação de vários destinos, na maior parte dos casos a referida recuperação é apenas parcial, uma vez que não está a compensar pela queda da demanda internacional. Esta situação dá razão à premissa de que não se espera que as receitas do turismo a nível mundial recuperem para os níveis de 2019 até 2023.
Tendo em consideração o impacto negativo que a pandemia da COVID-19 está a ter sobre as economias da maior parte dos países da SADC, particularmente sobre a indústria turística, que é um principal contribuinte para o PIB da maior parte dos países da África Austral, é imperativo que sejam adoptadas medidas ou reforçadas as políticas e leis existentes, com vista a sustentar o turismo nos países da SADC. É neste contexto que a comissão vai apreciar o lema «Pelo Aproveitamento do Turismo Interno em Tempos de Pandemia: O Caso da Pandemia de COVID-19: O Papel dos Parlamentos».
OBJECTIVO GERAL E OBJECTIVOS ESPECÍFICOS DA REUNIÃO
A reunião da Comissão Permanente de Alimentação, Agricultura e Recursos Naturais tem como objectivo a exploração de vias que podem ser seguidas para dinamizar o turismo interno durante a pandemia da COVID-19 e depois.
Tem os seguintes objectivos específicos:
- apreciar os desafios que os Estados membros estão a enfrentar para sustentar o sector turístico como resultado da pandemia da COVID-19;
- aprender como a inovação e a digitalização podem ajudar a optimizar o turismo nos Estados membros;
- criar medidas sustentáveis e estratégias visando dinamizar o turismo interno; e
- fazer recomendações sobre a forma como o turismo pode ser sustentado em tempos de pandemia.
Esta actividade realizar-se-á em formato virtual na plataforma Zoom. A comissão vai beneficiar de comunicações especializadas a serem apresentadas pela Organização Mundial do Turismo (UNWTO), pelo Secretariado da SADC e pelo Mercado Comum para a África Oriental e Austral (COMESA), que possuem uma grande visão sobre o tópico a partir de estudos que foram realizados acerca do impacto da pandemia da COVID-19 sobre a economia mundial, que inclui o turismo.
Espera-se que a reunião traga à ribalta medidas e estratégias que podem promover o turismo interno nos países da SADC. Decorrendo destas medidas, prevê-se que os ilustres membros obtenham conhecimentos valiosos sobre formas de gerir o turismo, mesmo a meio de uma pandemia como a da COVID-19. Isto vai, por sua vez, capacitar os ilustres membros a fazerem recomendações através dos vários processos nos seus respectivos países.
Acta Da Reunião Virtual Da Comissão Permanente De Alimentação, Agricultura E Recursos Naturais (FANR) Quarta-Feira, 11 De Novembro De 2020
Excelência. Marapeleng Malefane, Vice Presidente do Lesoto
Excelência. Tshitereke Baldwin Matibe Africa do Sul
Excelência. Polson Majaga Botswana
Excelência. Princesa Phumelele Dlamini Eswatini
Excelência. Lova Herizo Rajabelina Madagáscar
Excelência. Tambudzani Mohadi Zimbabwe
Excelência Andre Leon Tumba, Presidente RDC
Excelência. Prof. Nkandu Luo Zâmbia
Excelência. Marie Genevieve Stephanie Anquetil Maurícia
Excelência. Samuel Kawala Malawi
Excelência. Helena Bonguela Abel Angola
Excelência. Carlos Manuel Moçambique
Sra. Boemo Mmandu Sekgoma, Secretária-Geral (FP- SADC)
Sr. Sheuneni Kurasha, Gestor do Programa (FP- SADC)
Dr Lewis Hove Chefe da Equipa de Resiliência, Escritório
Sub-regional para a África Austral, Organização das Nações Unidas para a Alimentação e Agricultura.
Chikondi Chavuta Conselheiro da África Oriental e Austral Para questões Action Aids Internacional.
- Verificação das presenças e ausências justificadas.
- Adopção da Agenda.
- Alocuções de abertura.
- Análise da acta da Comissão Permanente da Alimentação e Agricultura (FANR) realizada de 9 a 10 de Julho de 2020.
- Consideração de questões decorrentes da acta da reunião da Comissão Permanente da FANR realizada no dia 9 a 10 de Julho de 2020.
- Comunicação e debate sobre o tema 'O Impacto (da Praga) do Gafanhoto Migratório Africano na Agricultura e Segurança Alimentar na África Austral: O que podem fazer os Parlamentos".
A reunião teve o seu início as 10:06 hrs.
VERIFICAÇÃO DAS PRESENÇAS E AUSÊNCIAS JUSTIFICADAS
Apresentaram-se as credenciais da Comissão e confirmou-se o quórum para que a reunião prosseguisse.
ADOPÇÃO DA AGENDA
Sob proposta da África do Sul e apoiada pelo Zimbabue, a Agenda foi adoptada tal como apresentada.
ALOCUÇÃO DE BOAS-VINDAS PELA PRESIDENTE
Em conformidade com o nº 2 do artigo 39º do Regulamento Interno do FP da SADC e na ausência do Presidente e do Vice-Presidente, indicou-se um Membro presente, Sua Excelência Tshitereke Baldwin Matibe para presidir a reunião.
O Presidente indicado, Sua Excelência Matibe deu boas-vindas a todos os membros à reunião. Subsequentemente deu boas-vindas especiais à Sra. Boemo Sekgoma, Secretária-Geral do FP da SADC. O Presidente apresentou sua gratidão ao secretariado do FP da SADC por assegurar que as Comissões Permanentes do FP da SADC continuassem a reunir-se mesmo em condições difíceis resultantes das restrições impostas pela pandemia da COVID 19. O Presidente observou que por causa do desafio da COVID 19 as reuniões fossem realizadas virtualmente através da plataforma zoom. Contudo, este novo desenvolvimento tinha exposto os desafios que muitos países da África Austral enfrentavam no que diz respeito às tecnologias de informação e comunicação, particularmente a fraca conectividade à Internet. A esse respeito, Sua Excelência Presidente Matibe exortou a Comissão a interessar-se pelas questões das Tecnologias de Informação e Comunicação.
Sua Excelência Presidente Matibe informou a Comissão Permanente que a reunião foi convocada sob o tema 'O Impacto (da Praga) do Gafanhoto Migratório Africano na Agricultura e Segurança Alimentar na África Austral: O que podem fazer os Parlamentos". Tomou boa nota, de que o surto da LMA constituiu uma ameaça séria à agricultura e a segurança alimentar na África Austral. Informou a Comissão que mesmo antes da incursão do AML, os sectores agrícolas da maioria dos países da África Austral estavam sob estresse devido aos impactos das alterações climáticas, tais como inundações e secas. Informou o Comité que a maior parte da região da África Austral dependia fortemente da agricultura como o seu pilar principal e que qualquer impacto no sector colocava sérios problemas socioeconómicos. Declarou que a Sessão se concentraria, portanto, em medidas que pudessem melhorar a crise. O Presidente concluiu com as suas considerações de boas-vindas exortando a todos os Membros a participar activamente nas deliberações.
CONSIDERAÇÃO E ADOPÇÃO DA ACTA DA REUNIÃO VIRTUAL DA COMISSÃO PERMANENTE DA FANR REALIZADA NA QUINTA-FEIRA, 10 E SEXTA-FEIRA, 10 DE JULHO DE 2020
Sob proposta da África do Sul e secundada por Estwatini, as actas da Comissão Permanente da FANR foram aprovadas como um verdadeiro reflexo das reuniões realizadas na quinta-feira, 9 e sexta-feira, 10 de quinta-feira, Julho de 2020
MATÉRIAS DA REUNIÃO VIRTUAL DA COMISSAO DE PONTUALIZAÇÃO DA FANR TERÇA-FEIRA, 9 E Sexta-feira, 10 de Julho, 2020
Não se levantou quaisquer correcções e questões e as actas foram aprovadas como um verdadeiro reflexo das reuniões da Comissão Permanente de FANR que tiveram lugar na quinta-feira, 9 e sexta-feira, 10 de Julho de 2020.
A fim de obter informações sobre o assunto em consideração, a Comissão Permanente da FANR recebeu apresentações dos seguintes peritos no assunto:
- Dr Lewis Hove Chefe da Equipa de Resiliência Escritório Sub-regional para a África Austral, Organização das Nações Unidas para a Alimentação e Agricultura
- Chikondi Chavuta Conselheiro da África Oriental e Austral para questões, ActionAid Internacional.
Destaque das comunicações, incluindo o debate plenário, as conclusões e recomendações foram as seguintes.
O IMPACTO (DA PRAGA) DO GAFANHOTO MIGRATÓRIO AFRICANO NA AGRICULTURA E SEGURANÇA ALIMENTAR
- A praga do gafanhoto migratório africano (AML) representa uma ameaça para a agricultura e a segurança alimentar na África Austral e, se não for controlado, é susceptível de exacerbar a crise alimentar já existente na região.
- O surto da AML foi registado pela primeira vez em Maio de 2020 e desde então oito Estados-membros da SADC tinham sido afectados, nomeadamente; Botswana, Eswatini, Malawi, Moçambique, Namíbia, África do Sul, Tanzânia e Zâmbia.
- A LMA representava um perigo para a produção de culturas e o pastoreio do gado durante a época agrícola de 2020/2021 e mais além.
- De acordo ao Relatório de Avaliação e Análise da Vulnerabilidade Regional da SADC 2020, cerca de 44,8 milhões de pessoas na região da África Austral já se encontravam em situação de insegurança alimentar mesmo antes do surgimento do surto de LMA.
- A Comunidade de Desenvolvimento da África Austral tinha recebido um apoio enorme vindo da Organização das Nações Unidas para a Alimentação e Agricultura, da Comunidade de Desenvolvimento da África Austral e da Organização Internacional de Controlo de Gafanhotos Vermelhos para a África Central e Austral. que tinha culminado no lançamento do Plano Regional de Resposta a Locustas com um apoio orçamental no valor de 4,3 milhões de dólares destinados à vigilância, operações de controlo e à salvaguarda dos meios de subsistência do impacto do AML.
- Na última década, a região da África Austral testemunhou surtos de pragas e doenças vegetais transfronteiriças que tinham causado estragos e resultou na redução da produção das principais culturas alimentares.
- Como resultado das alterações climáticas, houve um influxo de outras pragas e doenças vegetais igualmente destrutivas com potencial para ameaçar a segurança alimentar regional da SADC, tais como moscas da fruta, minhocas, tuta absoluta do mineiro de folha de tomate, murcha do fusarium da banana, vírus da banana buncy, vírus da mandioca castanha e doença da explosão do trigo.
- que a AML tinha exacerbado os desafios económicos que os Estados Membros já enfrentavam, incluindo as limitações de recursos colocados pelos mecanismos de resposta da COVID 19.
- Que algumas das pesticidas utilizadas para controlar a propagação da AML tinham potencial para causar efeitos adversos a saúde humana e nos ecossistemas.
- de que a pandemia da COVID 19 tinha exacerbado a crise alimentar na África Austral e que a segurança alimentar estava projectada para se deteriorar ainda mais.
Conclusões e Resoluções
Na sequência das comunicações e debates, a Comissão da FANR concluiu e resolveu o seguinte:
- Que os Parlamentos membros da SADC devem defender e pressionar os respectivos Governos para financiar e capacitar adequadamente as instituições mandatadas para gerir a praga da propagação dos gafanhotos Migratórios africanos.
- Os países da SADC devem assegurar a realização de avaliações de impacto ambiental a fim de monitorizar os potenciais danos ambientais que possam ser causados pela utilização de pesticidas químicas.
- Ser necessário que os Estados-Membros reforcem a vigilância, a partilha de informação e os sistemas de alerta prévia para pragas e doenças vegetais transfronteiriças.
- Os Estados-membros da SADC devem trabalhar de perto com a SADC e parceiros como a FAO, IRLCO-CSA e outras instituições para reforçar as ligações existentes para assegurar uma acção colectiva eficaz e atempada na gestão do LMA e outras pragas que ameaçam a segurança alimentar da região.
- A necessidade de os Estados Membros da SADC colaborarem com a Organização Internacional de Controlo de Gafanhotos Vermelhos para a África Central e Austral, a fim de beneficiarem das intervenções das duas organizações.
- Que os Estados-membros devem ter em conta os factores humanos e ambientais na eliminação de pesticidas químicas.
- Que os Estados Membros adoptem um sistema integrado de gestão de pragas no controlo da AML.
- Que os Estados-membros devem ter em conta as directrizes contidas na Convenção de Roterdão sobre a eliminação de pesticidas químicas a fim de proteger a saúde humana e o ambiente.
- Que os Estados Membros prestem apoio à indústria nacional para a produção e registo de bio pesticidas
- Os Parlamentos Nacionais devem utilizar os seus mandatos para encorajar os respectivos governos a tomarem medidas rápidas para controlar a propagação da AML.
- Os Estados-membros são instados a reforçar os mecanismos já existentes destinados a enfrentar as alterações climáticas, pois é evidente que os seus efeitos têm consequências de grande alcance tanto para os seres humanos como para o ambiente.
Não havendo outros assuntos a debater, a reunião da Comissão da FANR foi encerrada às 11:36 horas.
Agenda Anotada Reunião Da Comissão Permanente De Alimentação, Agricultura E Recursos Naturais (FANR)
Data: Segunda-feira, 12 de Abril de 2021
Horário: 09:30 - 12:30
14:00 - 16:00
Local: Reunião virtual
- Efectivos dos membros presentes e justificação de ausências
- Aprovação da agenda
- Alocução de boas-vindas pelo Presidente da comissão
- Análise da acta e das questões que necessitavam de seguimento a partir da reunião virtual da Comissão Permanente de Agricultura realizada na Quarta-feira, dia 11 de Novembro de 2020
- Análise do documento de síntese sobre o proposto lema da Comissão Permanente de FANR «Pelo Aproveitamento do Turismo Interno durante a Pandemia: O Caso da Pandemia de COVID-19 – O Papel dos Parlamentos»
ASSUNTOS PARA ANÁLISE
APROVAÇÃO DA AGENDA
Os membros são convidados a analisar e adoptar a proposta de agenda apresentada pela comissão.
ANÁLISE DA ACTA E DAS QUESTÕES QUE NECESSITAVAM DE SEGUIMENTO A PARTIR DA REUNIÃO VIRTUAL DA COMISSÃO PERMANENTE DE AGRICULTURA (FANR) REALIZADA EM 11 DE NOVEMBRO DE 202)
Como é do conhecimento dos membros, na última reunião virtual realizada em 11 de Novembro de 2020, a comissão analisou e fez as recomendações que abaixo se apresentam.
O IMPACTO DO GAFANHOTO MIGRATÓRIO AFRICANO (GMA) SOBRE A AGRICULTURA E A SEGURANÇA ALIMENTAR NA ÁFRICA AUSTRAL
Entre outras recomendações, a comissão exortou os Estados membros da SADC a trabalharem em estreita colaboração com a Organização das Nações Unidas para a Alimentação e Agricultura (FAO), o Secretariado da Comunidade de Desenvolvimento da África Austral (SADC), a Organização Internacional para o Controlo do Gafanhoto Vermelho na África Central e Austral (IRLCO-CSAO) e outras instituições, para fortalecerem as interligações existentes no sentido de assegurar uma acção colectiva eficaz e atempada na gestão do GMA e de outras pragas que ameaçam a segurança alimentar da África Austral. A comissão recomendou ainda que os parlamentos membros devem fazer a advocacia e o lóbi junto dos respectivos governos em prol do financiamento adequado e da criação da capacidade das instituições mandatadas para lidar com o controlo dos gafanhotos migratórios africanos.
Além disso, a comissão tinha exortado os Estados membros para adoptarem sistemas integrados de gestão de pragas na contenção dos gafanhotos, com vista a um controlo efectivo de uma propagação acentuada das pragas. Relativamente aos efeitos ambientais adversos, a comissão recomendou que os Estados Membros devem periodicamente realizar avaliações de impacto ambiental, para determinarem os danos ambientais que possam ocorrer como resultado do uso de pesticidas químicos no controlo da praga do gafanhoto migratório africano.
ANÁLISE DO DOCUMENTO DE SÍNTESE PARA A PROPOSTA DO LEMA DA COMISSÃO PERMANENTE DE FANR
A comissão é convidada a analisar e aprovar a proposta do lema: «Pelo Aproveitamento do Turismo Interno durante as Pandemias: O Caso da Pandemia de COVID-19 – O Papel dos Parlamentos»
Para ter uma ideia sobre o assunto, a comissão vai acompanhar comunicações da Organização Mundial do Turismo, do Mercado Comum para a África Oriental e Austral e da Comunidade de Desenvolvimento dos Países da África Austral.
SADC FP MISSÃO CONSULTIVA PRÉ-ELEITORAL NA ZÂMBIA
Interface Virtual entre o Comité Permanente do FP da SADC sobre Democratização, Governação e Direitos Humanos (DGHR) e os Intervenientes Eleitorais na Zâmbia em matéria de Domesticação da Lei Modelo da SADC sobre Eleições antes das Eleições Gerais de 2021 na Zâmbia
22 – 31 de Março de 2021