Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), Amos Masondo, is leading a high-level delegation of Members of Parliament to represent the country at the 52nd Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Africa Region Conference taking place in Freetown, Sierra Leone, from 3 to 9 June 2022.
The African Region of the CPA comprises 63 national and subnational legislatures, with a mission to promote and protect the interests and perspectives of African Parliaments and countries, into the Commonwealth and beyond, and to promote gender equality, emancipation of women, and respect for human rights, freedoms, democracy and good governance.
The conference is hosted by the Parliament of Sierra Leone, in collaboration with the CPA Africa Region Secretariat, and brings together 400 delegates, observers and other participants from CPA Africa Region Member States including South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Zambia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Mauritius, Nigeria, Ghana, Eswatini, Cameroon, Namibia, Malawi and Tanzania, as well as 16 sub-branches (nine from South Africa and seven from Nigeria).
The 52nd CPA – Africa Region Conference is held under the theme, “The role of African Parliaments in building an inclusive society to counter growing insecurity in Africa”, with a view to explore and share ideas and perspectives on how to strengthen democracy in Africa.
The conference officially opened on 6 June 2022 at the Freetown International Conference Center in Bintumani Hotel, Aberdeen.
Parliamentary spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo said the South African delegation will participate in the plenary and side meetings of various committees, including Executive Committee, Commonwealth Women’s Parliament Steering Sub Committee, Constitutional Amendment Ad hoc Sub Committee, Regional Representatives Sub Committee, and Programme Planning and Finance Sub Committee.
“The high-level delegation includes the National Assembly Deputy Speaker, Lechesa Tsenoli, in his capacity as a Member of the CPA Executive Committee, usually referred to as a Regional Representative, as well as Speakers and observers from the provincial legislatures,” Mothapo said.
The South African delegation is expected to deliberate on the following topics, among others:
• Strengthening parliamentary visibility: Parliamentary efforts in resource allocation for purposes of executing its Constitutional mandate,
• Evolving and adapting new strategies for increased women participation in politics,
• The role of African parliaments in accelerating Intra-Africa Trade,
• Mobilising regional, international coordination and cooperation to respond to COVID-19 and future pandemics, and
• Drawing lessons from COVID-19 to build foundations for future pandemics.
Mothapo said in accordance with rule 15 (1) and (2) of the Regional Conference Preparation Guidelines, the entitlement for the South African Parliament’s CPA Africa Branch is four delegates.
The CPA’s approved party representation formula for Parliamentary representatives for four delegates are Chairperson of the NCOP, Amos Masondo, who will lead the delegation; Commonwealth Women’s Parliament representative, Winnie Ngwenya and one member from the African National Congress, Nomgqibelo Nkosi, and one more member from Democratic Alliance, Darren Bergman.
As a branch of the CPA Africa Region, Mothapo said the South African Parliament utilises the CPA workshops, seminars and conferences of this nature to address challenges and issues of common concern for the continent.
The CPA was founded in 1911 at a meeting of Heads of Government in Westminster Hall as the then-Empire Parliamentary Association, and its affairs were administered by the United Kingdom Branch.
The original members were Australia, Canada, Newfoundland, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom.
Source: South African Government News Agency