Parliament, Saturday 03 September 2022 – National Council of Provinces Chairperson, Mr Amos Masondo, has raised concern over various articles of the new Protocol of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) – Malabo Protocol of 2022.

Chairperson Masondo was speaking at the closing day of the two-day 11th Conference of Speakers of National and Regional Parliaments, held at the PAP headquarters in Midrand yesterday.

He raised concern over the Protocol’s Article 5(1)(a) which provides that the National Parliament, or other deliberative body, shall elect from outside its membership five Members to serve in the PAP. The Article places an obligation on National Parliaments to elect independent people who are not MPs to represent the interest of the country at a continental level.

Chairperson Masondo said it was unclear how these independent people would account to Parliament and what recourse would Parliament have against those independent people if they fail to or refuse to account to Parliament.

Also of concern was Article 5(6) which provides that for the avoidance of doubt, an MP from a National Parliament or other deliberative body is eligible to contest an election to the PAP. The Article further provides that, if elected, the Member shall resign from the National Parliament or other deliberative body.

Chairperson Masondo said this leaves the Member with no clear line of accountability because MPs are elected to represent the interests of the people in Parliament and to account for every aspect of their work as the representatives of the people.

Another Article that he raised concern over is Article 10 (1) and (2) which provides that the Pan-African Parliamentarians shall be paid allowances by their respective State Parties.

He said it was unthinkable that State Parties would continue to pay allowances to independent people elected outside the normal electoral processes of the Member State.

Chairperson Masondo said Article 19(2) of the Protocol is one of the very crucial provisions of the reviewed Protocol as it provides that the PAP shall periodically submit a report in writing on its work to National Parliaments for information. He said this was a very important step as it seeks to ensure accountability. The submission of these reports will ensure that National Parliaments are aware of what the PAP is doing, and where necessary, debates the reports of the PAP, said the Chairperson adding that this is a good step as it will ensure accountability and could also assist in popularising the PAP in the Member States and communities.

The Chairperson said Article 4(3) of the revised Protocol brings a huge positive shift from the current one as it aims to address the gender imbalances in the delegation to the PAP. It increases the representation from one female to two and further states that a delegation which does not satisfy this requirement shall not have the right to be accredited for representation in the PAP.

The ratification of the Malabo Protocol will therefore correct the unfair issue of gender imbalance in the delegations of member States to the PAP.

ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA

Enquiries: Moloto Mothapo