SA must get its house in order - MPs debate Africa Day

2017-06-13 21:12
Parliament (Jan Gerber, News24)

Parliament (Jan Gerber, News24)

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Cape Town - South Africa needs to get its own house in order before it can lead the continent in achieving the African Union's Agenda 2063, MPs have heard during a debate on Africa Day.

MPs across the spectrum agreed that South Africa needs to play the leading role in moving the continent forward, but opposition parties said the country was losing its grip due to domestic problems.

Congress of the People MP Willie Madisha wanted to know how South Africa can contribute to Agenda 2063 when it is struggling from recession, economic downgrade, poverty, unemployment and inequality.

"How can we [contribute], when we have moved from being the champions of good governance on the continent... to now a captured state by foreigners," he asked the National Assembly on Tuesday.

Freedom Front Plus MP Pieter Mulder said it was time to stop talking about Africa's past and start talking about its future.

"We all want to see the continent compete with the world. Perhaps we have to spend more time sorting our own country out.

"Let's get our own house in order and then we can talk about Pan-Africanism, which itself is a good thing."

United Democratic Movement’s Nqabayomzi Kwankwa said Africa needs to consider its proposals carefully before adoption, so that programmes like Agenda 2063 don't join the list of failures.

Inkatha Freedom Party MP Albert Mncwango, who was bowing out as a MP after 23 years, said that Africa was one of the richest continents in the world, but continued to conduct its business as if it were the poorest.

Dlamini-Zuma 'shifted AU's goal posts'

Economic Freedom Fighters chief whip Floyd Shivambu said former African Union chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma shifted the organisation's goal posts when she developed its 'Agenda 2063'.

The AU needs to finish implementing the 1991 Abuja Treaty before embarking on other agendas.

"Under Dlamini-Zuma as AU chair, the so-called hero of African unity, the Western Sahara still remains a colony. She allowed Morocco to be readmitted," he claimed.

"The AU is still dependent on more than 80% of its funding coming from the European Union. How is that Pan-African?

"There is a programme of action that is incomplete. What did she do? She wanted Agenda 2063, shifting the goal posts far above what we had."

The Abuja Treaty established the African Economic Community.

It had a target of achieving six phases by 2028, including the setting up of a single customs union and free trade area on the continent, as well as potential single African currency.

South Africa's Parliament should adopt the Abuja Treaty before Agenda 2063, he said.

AU must be made 'fit for purpose'

Agenda 2063 is the AU's strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years. It builds on the Abuja Treaty.

DA MP Santosh Kalyan said the AU needs to be made fit for purpose. It's adopted over 500 resolutions, but has no way to enforce it, and has thus become "toothless".

ANC MP Elsie Coleman told Shivambu that "to get lost, is to learn the way," possibly referring to the majority of EFF MPs initial departure from the ANC.

Coleman said Agenda 2063 set out the aspirations of Africa's people.

International Relations portfolio committee chairperson Sipho Masango said South Africa can't be a passenger in achieving Agenda 2063.

Masango said the DA is a party of the past, and cannot be trusted to lead the country and the continent in 2019.

More about Agenda 2063 can be read here.

Read more on:    african union  |  cape town  |  parliament

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