MPs in heated debate over Africa Day

2016-05-25 22:55
(Jenni Evans, News24)

(Jenni Evans, News24)

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WATCH: South Africa's 'melting pot' celebrates Africa Day

2016-05-25 12:43

Gauteng Provincial Government and the Africa Diaspora Forum together hosted a joyous and colourful Africa Day celebration in Yeoville on Wednesday. Watch. WATCH

Cape Town - MPs displayed their passion and frustration over the African continent during a heated commemoration of Africa Day in Parliament on Wednesday.

DA MP Stevens Mokgalapa lamented third-termism, homophobia and the African Union’s withdrawal from the International Criminal Court as areas that clouded the continent's achievements.

“The persecution and harassment of opposition leaders should be challenged,” continued Mokgalapa. He added illegal amendments of constitutions and the AU's slow responses to conflict to his list of things needing to be fixed in Africa.

Africa Day commemorates the formation of the Organisation of African Unity 53 years ago. The organisation has since been replaced by the AU, where South African politician Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is serving her final months as AU Commission chairperson.

Mokgalapa said the African Court of Justice was a disappointment and the Southern African Development Community Tribunal was disbanded because Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe did not like it. 

It was disbanded in 2012, following a finding in favour of a white farmer, who had had land taken away during Zimbabwe's land reform programme. Mugabe questioned the validity of the tribunal and withdrew from it. Plans were afoot to reconstitute it with a new mandate.

FF Plus MP Pieter Mulder expressed his despair that Afrikaners were not being accepted on the continent.

“'I don't have a second address and my language is only spoken here,” he said. It was time to stop blaming colonialism for the continent's problems and look instead to the effect of bad decisions and internal strife.

At least 26 African countries had said they could use the expertise of the white farmers, but in South Africa they felt rejected for political reasons.

Pan Africanist Congress MP Luthando Mbinda said: “Much if not all of what we call independent African countries is nothing but a facade. Even today Africa is still a happy hunting ground for imperialists.”

It was not all doom and gloom, he continued, praising the SABC for its experiment to fill 90% of its playlists with South African music.

DA MP Wilmot James felt there was no point in blaming colonialism for the continent's problems. “It is over. Governments of Africa are in charge now.” They were rebalancing relations and the continent had the second-fastest growing economy in the world, with billions in partnerships being developed.

Mention of colonialism got ANC MP Moses Masango fired up and defending the continent. Underdevelopment was a legacy of colonialsm, he said. The scars of that period were unyielding and deeply rooted.

“I thought that as an Afrikaner you would appreciate what happened to you under the British,” Masango said to Mulder, touching on a sensitive topic for Afrikaners, who battled British rule for decades.

He said according to the FF Plus’s election manifesto, the party did not support affirmative action, black empowerment, land reform, or race quotas. The only thing that got the thumbs up from them was a Christian god, without acknowledging other religions in the country, said Masango.

He defended the South African government's handling a request that Sudanese president Omar Al Bashir be detained and handed to the ICC last June. There was a broader interest to that decision, he explained.

The AU decided that all member states must ignore the court because it persecuted Africans.

“Just imagine what would have happened to 3 000 South Africans in Sudan. Why are other countries not arresting him? They know where to find him.”

Read more on:    da  |  ff plus  |  anc  |  cape town  |  parliament 2016

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