National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise, has called for unity and the rotation of the Presidency at the Pan African Parliament (PAP).
Speaking at the opening of the 4th Ordinary Session of the fifth Pan African Parliament, Modise said PAP is a fundamental instrument for the African continent and it must continue to be the home of African democracy, and continue to represent the peoples of Africa.
“We must remember that the PAP was set up to ensure the full participation of African peoples in the economic development and integration of the continent. We must all live up to it. Our potential will only be harnessed through unity,” Modise said.
The meeting was held in Midrand, Johannesburg on Monday under the African Union’s theme for 2021 “Year of the Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want.’’
In calling for the rotation of PAP presidency, Modise urged all to consider the bigger picture of why PAP was formed, which is the “integration and working together of the Members of Parliament as the representatives of the people of the continent.”
“It is time that we recognise that unity is not how we show might, unity will not come about on how we show wealth, unity is about slowing the pace to enable the slowest amongst us to keep up,” Modise said.
The speaker also emphasised the “need to lobby for the outstanding counties to ratify the Malabo Protocol to enable the continental Parliament to deliver on its mandate more effectively.”
International Relations and Cooperation minister, Dr Naledi Pandor, reiterated the purpose of PAP.
“PAP is a platform for people from all African states to be involved in discussions and decision making on the problems and challenges facing the continent. It is therefore my hope that among others, PAP will exchange views on COVID-19 pandemic,” Pandor said.
Modise is a former member of PAP and was specially invited to deliver opening remarks, together with Dr Pandor, on behalf of South Africa, as a host country.
National Council of Provinces Chairperson, Amos Masondo led the South African Parliament delegation to the meeting.
Among issues up for discussion at the meeting included the report by the Permanent Committees on the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa; activity report of PAP; report of the Ad hoc Committee on the election of the President of the Pan-African Parliament; committee meetings and meeting of the Network of Women Parliamentarians.