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REPORT OF SOUTH AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE

Fifth Report of the Working Group on the African Union, dated 19 September 2002:

1. Introduction

The Working Group on the African Union was established on 16 November 2001 to consider the implementation of the Constitutive Act of the African Union (AU). The Working Group has tabled four reports on its functioning and one report on the Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community Relating to the Pan African Parliament, which have all been adopted by the National Assembly. In the first half of the year two seminars, specifically for Parliamentarians, were held. Both seminars were aimed at familiarising members of Parliament with the African Union and the issues arising in the course of its establishment.

2. Process

In order to more effectively perform its task, the Working Group has established the following Task Teams to consider specific areas related to the African Union:

(1) Task Team on the Implementation of the Constitutive Act of the African Union

The Task Team will, inter alia, consider the functioning of the four priority organs of the African Union (i.e the Assembly of the Heads of State, the Executive Council of Ministers, the Permanent Representatives Committee and the Commission), as well as consider any proposed amendment to the Constitutive Act.

(2) Task Team on the Pan African Parliament

The Task Team will, inter alia, consider the establishment of the Pan African Parliament (i.e on conceptual, functional and logistical levels), popular participation in the Pan African Parliament and the empowerment of Parliamentarians.

(3) Task Team on Building African Unity

The Task Team will consider the development of the African Union and implementation of Nepad and economic integration. The Task Team will also examine the involvement of civil society in the process as well as institutional arrangements.

3. Recommendations

(1) The Working Group, as it has not finalised its task, should be mandated to continue with its work on the African Union.

(2) The National Assembly should -

(a) request Parliamentary delegations to international meetings, including the next IPU Council meeting in September 2002, to raise awareness of the African Union.

(b) interact with other African Parliaments and Parliamentary formations, including the SADC Parliamentary Forum, in order to:

i. promote early ratification of the Protocol and the implementation by the Assembly of the African Union of a recommendation from the meeting of African Parliaments held in Cape Town, South Africa on 27-28 June 2002, to establish a "representative steering committee of Parliamentarians" to facilitate the establishment of the Pan African Parliament.

ii. jointly consider the advisability of having a conference or workshops of Parliaments to discuss, among other things, the role of National Parliaments in furthering the African Union.

(3) The Working Group proposes that a further workshop be held before the end of 2002 for members of Parliament (South Africa) to engage further in the establishment of the African Union and its organs and focus particularly on the role of Parliament in that regard.

Report to be considered.
    
    
    

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