Increase Women Representation Within the PAP

In a year dedicated to the celebrating the centenary of iconic freedom fighter Ms Albertina Sisulu, many members of the Pan African Parliament (PAP) believe that to be successful the organisation must strive for greater representation of women and youth.

Speaking to journalists after she was sworn in as a new member, the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, Ms Thandi Modise, said PAP’s prescription that only one of a country’s five delegates must be a woman is not good enough.

You have to accept that it is the responsibility of the member state to determine their representation, but it will be a good thing if women representation is increased. The South African delegation is made up of three women and two men, which I think is a great example for other nations, Ms Modise emphasised.

Ms Modise and three other Members of the South African Parliament, Ms Thoko Didiza, Mr Julius Malema and Inkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, were sworn in as new members of the PAP currently taking place in Midrand in South Africa. They join Ms Santosh Vinita Kalyan, who is serving another term.

Ms Modise’s sentiments were echoed by Mr Malema, who emphasised that parliamentary representation across the continent does not reflect the voting population, which impacts on accountability. We should be able to say we need 50% of representation here to be women and there should be consequences for those states that do not send the required representation of women, including young people. The majority of African parliaments are constituted by old age, which is unacceptable, Mr Malema emphasised.

The African Union Commission Chairperson, His Excellency Moussa Faki Mahamat, also said that the continent’s youth and women had been waiting patiently for bodies such as PAP to deliver on promises made. The under-representation of women and youth in such forums is unfortunate and impacted on their ability to deliver on their mandates, he said.

Statistics have shown that women constitute more than half of the population of 1.8 billion on the African continent. Also, the youth are yearning for a continent that uses the mineral resources it is endowed with to power development to create much-needed employment opportunities. We should have these group represented in such platforms to ensure that women and the youth form part of finding solutions to challenges facing Africa, Mr Mahamat said.

The theme for the session is: Winning the fight against corruption: A sustainable path to Africa’s transformation, and is scheduled to continue until 18 May. Among issues to be discussed include migration flows and a report on albinism.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa

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